We all knew that Kevin Lisch was going to get that basketball.
He wanted it, Andrew Gaze called the play and gave him the go ahead and in the dying seconds, Kings captain Kevin Lisch nailed a clutch buzzer-beating jumper with 0.3 seconds left on the clock to cap a thrilling 79-77 Sydney Kings win against arch nemesis Cairns Taipans at Qudos Bank Arena overnight.
48 hours prior, the Kings lost to the Taipans in Cairns, and it burned. The five-game winning streak was broken, and it was time for Sydney to start a new one.
It was an epic Monday night rematch that had everything the fans asked for. Star studded lineups, physical game, trash talk, big dunks, a bench-clearing brawl and a cinderella finish.
With 14 ties and 11 lead changes throughout the match, the Kings and Taipans kept the game close.
The momentum swung at the 3:44 mark in the 2nd quarter when Cairns import Nnana Egwu clotheslined a runaway Greg Whittington. The unsportsmanlike play brought both benches on the court. Kings point guard Jason Cadee and Taipans forward Mark Worthington were about to get it on until big man Aleks Maric pulled Worthington away in a head lock.
Watch the Sydney Kings v Cairns Taipans brawl below
The referees had to stop play to separate the teams, while a visibly upset, foul-mouthed Taipans head coach Aaron Fearne spewed out expletives that would have made Gordon Ramsay proud.
Lisch was the game changer, the newly-minted Sydney King bound for greatness. The snake charmer was the perfect antidote to bring down the dangerous Taipans.
However, in the final ten seconds of the fourth quarter, the Kings nearly lost the match when Whittington gave away a terrible pass and and got called for a foul. Fortunately, the Taipans managed to split their free throws to tie the game, which eventually set up the perfect opportunity for Lisch.
“I’ve got Kevin Lisch, and when in doubt, throw it to Kevin. Fortunately he got it done for us with a big play, but we had a lot of heroes tonight, ” gasped Kings head coach Andrew Gaze.
Brad Newley and Lisch led the Kings with 15 points, while “Outback Shaq” Nathan Jawai had 19 points and 7 rebounds for the Taipans.
Sydney sits on top of the NBL ladder, while Cairns is tied with Brisbane and Adelaide for fourth place with a 3-4 record.