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Kings claim lead after round of NBL upsets

The Sydney Kings have somehow claimed the NBL lead from Perth with all of the big guns stumbling in round 12.

Kings claim lead after round of NBL upsets

The Sydney Kings have somehow claimed the NBL lead from Perth with all of the big guns stumbling in round 12.

Sydney emerged from the rubble on top of the NBL after a freakish round in which the top teams all bumbled and burned.

Having held the lead since game one, Perth were finally usurped late in round 12 as a run of poor form finally caught up with them.


The Kings couldn't avoid the upset hex, crashing to a 78-71 loss to lowly Illawarra, yet their 11-6 record is enough to hoist them ahead of the Wildcats (12-7) and Melbourne United (11-7).

Defending champions Melbourne had a chance to take outright top spot in Sunday's late game, but their 95-86 loss to the Bullets ensured all five games in the round were upsets.

Sydney can bust that trend in the round's final game on Monday when they travel to face the last-placed Taipans in Cairns.

It's a match Andrew Gaze's men would have been expected to win comfortably, yet the league has seemingly been turned on its head, with Cairns producing the biggest boilover.

The Taipains' 109-80 upset of Brisbane on Thursday, built around Devon Hall's 24 points, ended their miserable 14-game losing streak.

Perth's 97-84 loss on Sunday to the New Zealand Breakers in Auckland was no real surprise given their dreadful form, having beaten no team other than Cairns over the past six weeks.

They couldn't contain dynamic American centre Shawn Long, arguably the league's form player, who rammed home 33 points for the resurgent Kiwi club. It gave the former NBA big man 61 points for the week after his haul in Friday's 104-96 defeat of the 36ers in Adelaide.

Perth guard and reigning MVP Bryce Cotton returned to fitness with 27 points but it wasn't enough to lift his team, who he said were lacking their renowned intensity across four quarters.

"With the season coming down to an end, we've got to figure this out quickly," he said.

"We played good for three quarters but we had too many defensive lapses. Every time we messed up, they made us pay for it."

The sixth-placed Breakers look to be finding their feet at the right time, lifting to 8-9 to be just behind fourth-placed Brisbane (10-9) and Adelaide (9-9) in what shapes as three-team duel for the final playoff spot.

Brisbane did their chances no harm on the Gold Coast, inspired by a fine all-round showing from centre Matt Hodgson.

Their team output trumped Melbourne's effort which was based mostly around the offensive arsenal of Casper Ware, who racked up 29 points.

AAP


AAP




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