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Kings beat Melbourne to claim NBL lead

Andrew Bogut has steered the Sydney Kings to a hoodoo-busting 97-85 win over Melbourne United to send them back to the top of the table.

Kings beat Melbourne to claim NBL lead

Andrew Bogut has steered the Sydney Kings to a hoodoo-busting 97-85 win over Melbourne United to send them back to the top of the table.

ANDREW BOGUT of the Dallas Mavericks poses for a portrait during the Dallas Mavericks Media Day held at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.
ANDREW BOGUT of the Dallas Mavericks poses for a portrait during the Dallas Mavericks Media Day held at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. Picture:Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Sydney Kings have skewered their losing streak against Melbourne United, toppling the defending champions 97-85 to clamber back atop the NBL ladder.

In a result which sets up a thrilling finish to the regular season, the Kings held firm against their bogey team on the back of another influential outing from Andrew Bogut on his home court.


The former NBA centre scored 15 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and pulled off three steals and three blocks on Friday night as Sydney ended a 10-match losing trot against Melbourne. They had also lost their last nine at home to the in-form Victorian outfit.

United looked like pulling off another late heist as they closed from 12 points down to within four with three minutes remaining.

Bogut responded with the next four points, including a spectacular alley-oop served up by Jerome Randle, and drew an offensive foul from DJ Kennedy.

The Kings had struggled offensively in three low-scoring losses to Melbourne this season but that wasn't an issue as Randle's game-high 21 points was backed up by 18 from Daniel Kickert.

Randle also dished up six assists to win his point guard duel with Casper Ware, who gave away six turnovers.

Randle said ending their dreadful run against Melbourne hadn't been used as motivation.

"We just came out to play. I don't care if it was 100 games in a row, you're only as good as your last game," he said.

"I feel like we're just getting better. We lost a couple of games and we know why we lost, the energy wasn't there.

"I felt like tonight, everyone contributed in the time they had on court, which is why we won the game. It was really good for us to come out and make sure they took tough shots."

The lead changed hands eight times in the first half before the Kings embarked on a pivotal 11-point run just before the main break.

Melbourne committed a handful of their 17 turnovers during that period undoing much of the scoring from the likes of Ware (17), fellow-guard Chris Goulding (16) and Kennedy (13).

Goulding opened the final quarter with two quick three-pointers to set up a the potential for a tense finish but Bogut unleashed his best plays as the clock wound down.

Both teams face key road games on Sunday.

Sydney (17-9) face Perth (16-9) in another table-topping blockbuster while Melbourne (16-9), who have slipped to third, take on fourth-placed Adelaide (14-12).

Randle said the Kings would change their mindset, regardless of where they rank for the finals.

"If you know anything about the play-offs, they're a different season, so you can't get too high or too low."

AAP


AAP




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