Kings bring down in-form Taipans in NBL

Adrian Warren
Casper Ware had 18 points for the Sydney Kings in their NBL rout of Cairns at Qudos Bank Arena

A hard-nosed Sydney have consolidated top spot on the NBL ladder with a 92-83 home win over in-form Cairns on Saturday.

The Kings led by seven at both quarter and halftime, and eight at the last break, having weathered a third quarter fightback from Cairns, who had won their last five games to surge into third spot.

Casper Ware and Daniel Kickert headed Sydney's scorers with 18 apeice, while Jae'Sean Tate added 15, and Brad Newley and Shaun Bruce 13 each.

Majok Deng led Cairns with 18 points, while Scott Machado had 16, DJ Newbill added 15, and Mirko Djeric tipped in 14.

Sydney limited the impact of Cairns' star imports, with Machado making eight turnovers and Cam Oliver was kept to eight points.

The Kings committed seven turnovers in the second quarter but just three after halftime, when their improved offensive efficiency and defensive doggedness wore down the Taipans.

"If you're going to fuel that offence with that many turnovers it felt like we we were dodging a bullet frankly in the first half," Kings' coach Will Weaver said.

"The effort was much better in the second."

Sydney conceded their season-high 109 points in their previous home clash with Cairns, but Saturday's win gave them a 2-1 split over the Taipans.

"We wanted to come out after last time , they kind of embarrassed us, we wanted to return the favour a little bit," Kickert said.

Sydney relied on their long range shooting prowess in the first quarter with all but five of their 23 points in the term coming from three point shots.

Ware nailed three, and veteran Kickert converted on two.

Cairns got back to within three when Sydney turned the ball over seven times, before the home side clamped down on defence in the second period.

Sydney blew their buffer out to 12, but the Taipans rallied late in the quarter.

The Kings scored the first six points after halftime to kick their lead out to 13, but an 19-7 run in favour of the visitors got them back to within one.

In front of a crowd of 10,857 at Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney reasserted themselves either side of three-quarter time to take control and lead by 17.

"Defensively they did a good job and we were running in mud a little bit and we got a little bit stagnant," Cairns' coach Mike Kelly said.

Sydney had a whopping 34-12 advantage in bench points, led by Kickert and enjoyed a 43-37 edge in rebounding.