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Sydney Kings edge Cairns in NBL

AAP logoAAP 7/11/2016

Kings enforcer Aleks Maric comes to grips with Mark Worthington as tempers flared in Sydney. © Jason McCawley/Getty Images Kings enforcer Aleks Maric comes to grips with Mark Worthington as tempers flared in Sydney. Sydney Kings captain Kevin Lisch sank a clutch shot in the final second to lift his team to a thrilling 79-77 win over the Cairns Taipans in a fiery NBL battle at Qudos Bank Arena.

In a clash that had a bit of everything, the lead changed hands throughout before Lisch had the final say with his match-winning heroics.

Sydney managed to overcome a poor shooting night (4/17 from three-point range) to claim their sixth win of the season and remain in top spot.

The victory also avenged Saturday night's away loss to Cairns.

Sydney were trailing 31-28 with just under four minutes remaining in the first half when American forward Greg Whittington was hit on a fast-break dunk attempt by Cairns centre Nnanna Egwu.

That sparked plenty of pushing and pulling by players from both sides, while Taipans coach Aaron Fearne was also momentarily involved as he separated two players.

The three referees reviewed footage of the incident and issued unsportsmanlike fouls on Egwu, Cairns forward Mark Worthington and Kings duo Jason Cadee and Aleks Maric.

Play resumed and Sydney got their noses in front 39-36 at halftime, but Worthington wanted it known the Taipans weren't backing down.

"We have an all in mentality," he told Fox Sports at halftime.

"We thought what Jason Cadee did was unwarranted so we went all in."

Cairns had picked up where they left off from Saturday's win over Sydney, out-hustling and out-muscling the Kings for a 22-16 quarter-time lead.

The game all but ground to a halt for the first six minutes of the second period, as scoring dried up at both ends of the court.

That's when Egwu's foul on Whittington sparked the melee that almost spilled over the sideline in front of the Kings bench.

The Taipans came out aggressively after the break and scored the first 10 points of the third period.

Sydney responded with a brief scoring spurt but they weren't as suited to the slow pace as the visitors and were down 55-54 at three-quarter time.

Lisch and Brad Newley top-scored for Sydney with 15 points apiece, while Nate Jawai led Cairns with a game-high 19.

The Kings are on the road for two games in round six, taking on Brisbane on Thursday night before heading south for a Saturday night clash with Melbourne United.

The Taipans also face a busy round six, with a Friday night game against New Zealand in Auckland followed by Sunday's home meeting with Brisbane.

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