Explosive third quarter leads Kings to win
The Sydney Kings capitalised during a blistering and explosive third quarter as they beat the Melbourne Tigers 72-67 in their NBL clash at Hisense Arena on Sunday.
Looking to claim a place in the top four, the Kings (5-4) outscored their rivals by 30-17 in the third period to blow open the game amid fiery scenes that resulted in Melbourne import Seth Scott being ejected.
MVP candidate Ben Madgen (26 points) again led the Kings, who got excellent inside support from centre Ian Crosswhite (11 points, 14 rebounds).
New import guard Jonny Flynn (17 points, five assists) was good in only his second game for the Tigers (2-5) while veteran Adam Ballinger (15 points, eight rebounds) stepped up when needed.
The Tigers made a fast start to the game, using a 10-0 run built by four different scorers to lead 10-2, before Flynn's free-throw made the lead a game-high 10 late in the first period.
Hitting the last seven Kings points of the first quarter, which closed with the Tigers up 21-16, Madgen engineered an 18-5 run into the middle of the second period before the Tigers went into halftime ahead 36-34.
That second half turned out to be big in more ways than one as the Kings fired and tempers flared with two game-turning incidents during the third quarter.
Tigers guard Chris Goulding (six points) was called for an unsportsmanlike foul after a skirmish with Aaron Bruce, then Scott (five points, seven rebounds) was ejected for taking a swipe at Madgen.
After starting the third quarter with a 17-3 run, the Kings took full advantage of the unsportsmanlike fouls as Bruce and Madgen drained the four free-throws for a 55-41 lead with 4min 37sec left in the period.
Emotionally charged by the blow-up and giving the Tigers problems with their trapping defence, the Kings extended their lead to 18 points as Madgen drained a three.
The Tigers rallied to get the gap back to 11, 64-53, by the end of the quarter, but too much damage was done, despite the Kings drying up in the fourth.
Held to just eight points in the fourth quarter, the Kings left the door open for a Tigers comeback, but the margin was simply too great for the home team to overcome after getting to within four.