Brazilian Didi Louzada has provided the spark off the bench to help propel NBL leaders Sydney to a 98-81 home win over South East Melbourne.
Coming off an away loss two days earlier to the New Zealand Breakers, the Kings led for most of Sunday’s game, but wobbled briefly in the third quarter, before sealing the match with a surge either side of three-quarter time.
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Sydney led by up to 10 points in the second quarter, but the Phoenix fought back to hit the front briefly in the third.
Sweet-shooting big Daniel Kickert soothed the nerves of home supporters by hitting successive three-pointers and guard Casper Ware sank another trey on the buzzer to give Sydney a seven-point buffer at three-quarter time.
A 10-2 run at the start of the final quarter gave Sydney a 15-point buffer which never dipped below 12.
Louzada scored eight off the bench in the first quarter and finished with a team-high 18 for the game, making eight of his 11 shots.
Didi Louzada lays up a shot against the South East Melbourne Phoenix. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
Brad Newley added 17 for the Kings and Ware and Jae’Sean Tate both contributed 14.
A ninth loss in their past 12 games appears to end any realistic chance the Phoenix might have had of making the finals in their first season.
Guard John Roberson kept South East Melbourne in touch through a first half in which they led for less than a minute.
Roberson scored 24 of the Phoenix’s 50 first-half points, but was held to just three after halftime.
Captain Mitch Creek, who didn’t score his opening points until late in the second quarter, tallied 14, as did Tai Wesley.
Former Kings guard Kyle Adnum was a force off the bench for the Phoenix, making eight of his 11 shots and bagging 17 points.
Originally published asKings hold nerve to brush aside Phoenix
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