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NBL 2014/15 Round 18: League leaders show too much for fading Kings
It was a tale of one of the most in-form teams all season playing off against one of the most out of form teams right now. The scoreline well and truly showed that when the Cairns Taipans proved too much for the short-handed Kings, taking the outright lead in the NBL with a 92-78 victory at the Qantas Credit Union Arena.
Considering the two teams and the final outcome, the game certainly provided many ebbs and flows with Sydney not willing to lie down too easily.
An entertaining first half had Kings fans somewhat composed as the team stayed in the hunt and provided their fans with something to cheer about.
That was up until the Taipans showed their bite in their famous third quarters this season, penetrating every Sydney mistake into either transition points or executing on half court sets.
An NBL 'Big 3' composed of Cameron Tragardh (23 points, 5 rebounds), Scottie Wilbekin (17 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists) and Cameron Gliddon (17 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists) were all in action as the top of the table Taipans stretched their lead throughout the second half off the back of consistent high-low post action.
Sydney were respectable in defeat, despite seeing the final margin outstretched past double digits.
Ben Madgen (22 points) led the team in scoring, however it was Tom Garlepp (19 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 7-9FG) who was the handy man for the home side.
Kendrick Perry continued his season resurgence with 17 points, despite committing five turnovers.
As the opening quarter was a tight tussle, it brought about the referees having to be involved much more than usual. The scrappy contest was full of fouls and trips to the charity stripe, as the Kings themselves tallied up 10 opening quarter fouls.
Another poor opening to the second quarter from both sides was broken apart as Perry put up a quickfire five points to take his tally to 14 early on.
Back to back Wilbekin triples split by a fastbreak lay-up from Stephen Weigh (4 points, 4 rebounds) had the game tied up at 35.
Jason Cadee's (6 points, 3 rebounds) three had the Kings up two with just under a minute left, before a Snakes burst off the back of Shaun Bruce (7 points) had that margin reversed at the main break.
A 6-0 Taipans run that was started and finished by Matt Burston (8 points, 8 rebounds) midway through the third term had the Kings on the ropes.
Empty trips down the stretch of the third term gave Cairns the first double digit lead of the game.
Back and forth the two teams went over the last ten minutes, with no real fears of the result changing as the Cairns Taipans well and truly deserved winners.
Sydney Kings 78 (Madgen 22, Garlepp 19, Perry 17)
Cairns Taipans 92 (Tragardh 23, Wilbekin 17, Gliddon 17)
@ Qantas Credit Union Arena