Kings can’t break United hoodoo
The Sydney Kings must overcome their Melbourne United mental demons to claim this season's NBL championship.
This was on show at Qudos Bank Arena on Sunday as United continued their Harbour City domination with a thrilling come-from-behind 75-70 victory over the Kings.
Sydney led by as many as 11 points in the third quarter but Melbourne showcased their championship qualities to surge home.
United have now beaten Sydney three times this season to prove they are still the team to beat.
Melbourne remains unbeaten in the Harbour City dating back to the 2014 season.
United skipper Chris Goulding was outstanding for the away side, finishing with a game-high 16 points.
Goulding was particularly prominent down the stretch with a number of clutch shots to steer his side home.
It was a disappointing finish for the single-game record crowd of 12,050 fans.
The Kings looked to have the game in their keeping midway through the fourth quarter but failed to execute in the big moments.
The loss highlights Sydney still have some way to go before they can fulfil their championship goal.
Jerome Randle top-scored for the Kings with 15 points, while Kevin Lisch added 12 and Brad Newley had 11.
Marquee man Andrew Bogut finished with 11 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks.
In the end, though, stats won't matter to Bogut as the Kings had their five game winning streak snapped by arch-rivals Melbourne.
There is something special about the Sydney versus Melbourne rivalry this season.
This was on show in an intense first quarter with both teams trading blows in a contest worthy of a finals game.
Melbourne led 26-25 at quarter-time on the back of five points from import forward DJ Kennedy.
The Kings were right in the contest, though, and surged in the second quarter on the back of Lisch and Newley.
The pair combined for 18 points to give Sydney a 47-40 advantage at halftime.
The Kings tried to stretch their lead in the third quarter but Melbourne refused to go away to reduce the deficit to four points heading into the final frame.
United continued their momentum in the fourth to win and maintain their mantle as the NBL's benchmark franchise.
MELBOURNE UNITED 75 (C Goulding 16 D Barlow 12 D Kennedy 9) SYDNEY KINGS 70 (J Randle 15 K Lisch 12 A Bogut 11) at Qudos Bank Arena