The Tigers held on to beat the Kings by three points after star guard Chris Goulding coughed up a turnover in the dying seconds handing Sydney counterpart Aaron Bruce the chance to fire up a three to try to send the game into overtime, but it wasn’t to be.
The Kings did well to even remain competitive late in the game having only played at home to the Adelaide 36ers on Saturday night. Sydney won the hard fought contest and then had to back up for a 2pm start in Melbourne on Sunday, so for fatigue to not be a factor in the end is a credit to them.
The victory continued Melbourne's good run of form and improves their record to 5-8 on the season with 15 games still remaining. It has been a rollercoaster ride for the Tigers so far in Chris Anstey's first season as coach.
It started with four straight losses before two wins on the trot after the arrival of point guard Jonny Flynn. It was then another run of four losses before the current three-game winning run where they have beaten Cairns, Wollongong and Sydney.
Melbourne has now moved up to fifth position on the ladder to be just three games behind the fourth-placed Wollongong Hawks with a game in hand.
Goulding led the way for the Tigers top-scoring with 18 points, three rebounds and three assists. He received good support from veteran big man Adam Ballinger (13 points, four rebounds), Seth Scott (11, nine) and Flynn (11, nine assists, three rebounds and two steals).
Tigers coach Anstey was relieved more than anything to come away with the win against the Kings.
"It's a relief to get that one. I thought Sydney played a hell of a game, and they were tough coming off a big game last night. That created some steely resolve in their group and they played well, but again we found a way to win," Anstey said.
"We are getting there. Again I didn’t think we played our best game, but we did what we needed to do to win with different guys stepping up than last week. We are starting to understand what it takes to win.
"We have one of the biggest tests in basketball now next week going over to Perth, but we will go over and take a swing at them now."
Meanwhile, Sydney remains in third position at 10-7 and Shane Heal's side will be relatively satisfied with the weekend to go 1-1 with two games inside 18 hours, especially having lost last week at home by 34 points to the Perth Wildcats.
Coming off 30 points on Saturday night against the 36ers, Ben Madgen scored 16 points for the Kings but had a game-high six turnovers.
He was also involved in a bizarre incident in the dying minutes when he took his frustrations out on a courtside chair when a call didn’t go his way. He threw it and it hit a referee, but the officials turned a blind eye to it and his coach Heal coolly picked up the chair.
Bruce scored 15 points for the Kings with Darnell Lazare adding 13 to go with 10 rebounds. Import point guard also had 11 points and seven rebounds.