The Sydney Kings have recorded a hard fought 81-72 win over the Cairns Taipans at Qudos Bank Arena tonight. With a new-look import tandem in Jerome Randle and Jeremy Tyler, Sydney overcame injuries to Todd Blanchfield and Perry Ellis to secure their first win since October 29.
Ellis suffered what appeared to be a left shoulder sprain in the first two minutes of the match, while Blanchfield suffered a concussion after a headclash with teammate Isaac Humphries during the game.
Their injuries seemed to have sparked a wake up call to the hapless Kings. Sydney built a 24-point margin on the back of Randle, Brad Newley, Jason Cadee and hustle plays from Humphries, Tyler and Tom Garlepp. By halftime the Kings were up, 51-32.
It was a pleasant surprise for the hometown crowd, but the Kings had built big leads before only to lose that lead and the game it in the end. Not this time.
As expected, Cairns put on a 10-0 run in the third quarter while the Kings went back to their old habits. The Taipans whittled that big Sydney lead down to five before Randle hit some clutch buckets to put the Kings back up 69-60. The Kings somehow managed to hold on to their lead until the fourth quarter and never looked back.
After keeping their finals hopes alive, the Kings now travel to Cairns to take on the Taipans on Saturday night. Sydney will be without Blanchfield and possibly Ellis, but a returning Kevin Lisch would be a welcome addition to the beleaguered club.