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Kings keep top spot in NBL with Hawks win

AAP logoAAP 5/12/2016

Kevin Lisch of the Kings is fouled as he as he drives to the basket during the round nine NBL match. © Mark Kolbe/Getty Images Kevin Lisch of the Kings is fouled as he as he drives to the basket during the round nine NBL match. The Sydney Kings bounced back to their best with Monday night's 99-93 victory over state rivals Illawarra at WIN Entertainment Centre.

Sydney stretched an eight-point halftime buffer to 15 early in the third quarter and answered every challenge by the home side in an often spiteful second half.

The Kings led by as many as 19 in the fourth period of the top of the table showdown, notching their ninth win of the season and third from as many meetings with the Hawks.

Spearheading Sydney's charge were Kevin Lisch (23 points), Jason Cadee (22), and Greg Whittington (20), while Rotnei Clarke (27) top-scored for the Hawks.

Illawarra built a 23-15 lead in the first period, but Cadee and Whittington combined for 18 points to help the visitors lock the scores at 25-all at quarter-time.

Whittington and Cadee stayed hot in the second period, while Lisch and Brad Newley hit key baskets to put the Kings up by seven.

Sydney maintained the upper hand, making 48 percent of their shots to take a well deserved 52-44 lead into halftime.

The margin swelled to 15 two minutes into the third period before Clarke's red-hot shooting helped the Hawks cut the deficit to three.

The Kings held their nerve, closing with a 13-4 run to take a 78-66 lead into the final quarter.

Despite letting a 19-point lead shrink to five with three minutes remaining, they did enough to squeak home.

Illawarra are on the road against Brisbane on Saturday, while the Kings meet Cairns in North Queensland on Friday night before hosting Melbourne United on Sunday afternoon.

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