Kings shade Utd to stay in NBL finals hunt

·2-min read

The Sydney Kings have kept their NBL finals hopes alive with a dramatic 100-98 double overtime home win over Melbourne United.

The win on Saturday lifted fifth-placed Sydney to 17-17, just behind S-E Melbourne and Illawarra (both 18-15).

Melbourne led by 10 in the first half and shot 56 per cent from the field until halftime, while Sydney made just two of 16 three-point attempts in the first 20 minutes.

Guard Shaun Bruce triggered Sydney's second-half comeback after being ice-cold from three point range and going scoreless in the first half from six shots.

Bruce piled on 13 points in seven minutes, landing three long-range shots and finished Sydney's top scorer with 21 on eight of 24 field goal shooting.

"I just had to keep shooting the ball," Bruce said.

"I got a little voice in my head that says, 'I better do something', because I didn't do much in the first half."

Sydney stayed in the game until halftime by picking up plenty of second chance points and hassling United into nine turnovers

"I thought we could have had a much greater margin in the first half. The things that hurt us there were the offensive rebounds and the turnovers," United coach Dean Vickerman said.

Good defence from Shea Ili and Sam McDaniel kept star Sydney guard Casper Ware to 16 points on five of 20 field goal shooting and just one from eight from three-point range.

"As a team we shot 37 per cent from the field, but all the second chance points, the defensive stops were what won us the game, clamping it down at the defensive end," Sydney coach Adam Forde said.

Sydney scored the first five points of the second half to level the score and a 16-0 run gave them a 64-51 lead.

United piled on 15 unanswered either side of three-quarter time, to turn a nine-point deficit into a six-point lead

Forward Jock Landale, who was immense for Melbourne with 23 points and 12 rebounds, scored nine straight points either side of three-quarter time, including two long bombs.

The Kings rallied again, despite having import Jarell Martin foul out, with Bruce and Tom Vodanovich hitting big buckets down the stretch as Sydney edged to a four-point lead with just over two minutes to go.

Melbourne's Mitch McCarron hit the game-levelling basket in both regulation time and overtime.

United missed four of their last five free throws in the second overtime period, with the otherwise impressive Landale off target with two out of three with. 29 seconds left and his team trailing by two.

"If anything there is a little bit of guilt there, obviously I always want to do whatever I can to win the game for the team and didn't step up and make the shots," Landale said.

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