Sixers sizzle late to stop Kings
Adelaide 36ers have stormed home in the final quarter to defeat Sydney Kings 85-78 at the Entertainment Centre on Friday night.
The 36ers outscored the Kings 31-19 in a pulsating last quarter to fight back from a five-point deficit for the seven-point success in front of another sold out crowd of 9434 fans.
With just under five minutes remaining, the Kings held a 69-66 lead off the back of a 7-0 run, then Adelaide came to life.
The home side went on a match-winning 12-0 run and kept the two-time defending NBL champions scoreless for over three minutes.
Isaac Humphries, playing his 50th NBL match for the 36ers, scored a team-high 20 points to go with 11 rebounds and four blocks, while DJ Vasiljevic also added 20 points with four rebounds and four assists.
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Trey Kell was everywhere again for 15 points, seven assists, four rebounds and three steals and Jason Cadee was a huge spark off the bench for 12 points, three rebounds and two steals.
Sydney import point guard Jaylen Adams scored a game-high 21 points to go with five assists, while Denzel Valentine added 12 points with nine rebounds and Jordan Hunter had 10 points and eight rebounds.
Adelaide looked inside for Humphries who opened the scoring and when Nick Marshall dunked in transition, the 36ers had a 6-3 lead.
The home side started strong at the defensive end, but the Kings were able to get their hands on some crucial offensive rebounds.
Adams looked to explore inside and found open shooters, Jonah Bolden giving the visitors a 12-9 lead before Cadee tied the game from the perimeter.
Jacob Wiley stole the ball to throw down a huge dunk, but his three-pointer on the buzzer just missed as the Kings took an 18-17 lead into the first break.
The import power forward opened the second quarter with a triple to give the home side the lead, but Adams kept scoring as the Kings opened a 28-23 lead.
Adelaide bounced back almost straight away, Vasiljevic got Angus Glover in the air to convert a three-point play and when Humphries scored inside, the game was tied again at 32-32.
Humphries scored again as the 36ers went on a 7-0 run to take back the lead, but the Kings responded with a 7-0 run of their own to take a 39-34 lead.
After some tough work under the hoop at both ends, Kell connected on a three-pointer in transition, but Adams found Kouat Noi inside as the Kings took a 41-37 lead into the main interval.
Adelaide opened the third quarter with a 9-0 explosion from a Kell three-point play, Cadee triple and Humphries basket as the 36ers took back the lead 46-41.
Valentine scored a tough floater, then the home side went on another 7-0 run and when Vasiljevic scored off the fast break, Adelaide had a 53-43 advantage.
The Kings responded, getting to the free throw line as the visitors went on a 12-1 run to take back the lead 55-54.
Sydney scored 16 of the last 17 points of the third quarter to take a 59-54 lead going into the final 10 minutes.
The 36ers scored the first five points of the final quarter to tie the game at 59-59 and kept the Kings scoreless for nearly three minutes before Makuach Maluach connected from downtown.
Humphries became a real focus inside for Adelaide, scoring twice inside and when Vasiljevic converted on a three-point play, the 36ers had a 66-62 lead.
Glover hit a three-pointer, then Dech was called for an unsportsmanlike foul on Adams as the Kings regained the lead with just under five minutes to play.
That’s when Adelaide stormed away with 12 unanswered points for a 78-69 lead before Adams swished a triple.
Humphries scored again inside, but Adams wouldn’t be denied, hitting another three-pointer to reduce the lead to 80-75.
A three-point play from Hunter late cut the Adelaide lead to four points, but Sunday Dech finished off the win in style with a three-pointer on the buzzer.
Adelaide will be back in action on Sunday afternoon when the 36ers travel to Hobart for a huge battle against Tasmania JackJumpers at MyState Bank Arena from 1.30pm ACDT.
ADELAIDE 36ERS 85 (Humphries 20, Vasiljevic 20, Kell 15) def SYDNEY KINGS 78 (Adams 21, Valentine 12, Hunter 10) at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre.