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Tigers, Kings continue NBL emergence

By Chris Pike
26 January 2014 11:37PM EST

THE Melbourne Tigers have recorded their second win of the weekend to continue to loom as genuine NBL title threats with the Sydney Kings also showing they arenít out of the equation either.

Coming off a thrilling victory in Perth on Friday night against the league-leading Wildcats, the Tigers backed it up with a second road victory of the weekend on Sunday beating the Wollongong Hawks 86-78 at the WIN Entertainment Centre.

Meanwhile, the Sydney Kings also beat the second-placed Adelaide 36ers for the second time in recent weeks 105-93 to have now won four straight NBL matches as the battle over spots inside the NBL top-four intensifies.

After 15 rounds of the 2013/14 season, the Perth Wildcats (15-4) remain on top of the table followed by the Adelaide 36ers (12-6), Melbourne Tigers (12-8) and Sydney Kings (9-8).

Outside the top-four are the Cairns Taipans (8-11), New Zealand Breakers (7-11), Wollongong Hawks (6-12) and Townsville Crocodiles (4-13).

The NBL action on Australia Day began at the Sydney Entertainment Centre with the fourth-placed Sydney Kings hosting the second-placed Adelaide 36ers.

The Kings ended up winning their fourth game in succession and second over Adelaide in that stretch with the most impressive aspect of that being the fact that they have managed to score over 100 points for the only two times this season against the team sitting second on the ladder.

Meanwhile, Adelaide has now lost two of its last four games to go from a 10-4 record to now be 12-6 and slightly vulnerable in second spot with the Sixers also not having beaten a fellow top-four team since downing Perth at home way back on November 22.

Ben Madgen top-scored for the Kings with 25 points to go with seven rebounds, four assists and three steals in a terrific all-round game that also saw him shoot 9-of-14 from the field and a perfect 3-of-3 from three-point range.

NBA-experienced import Sam Young also scored 21 points to go with four rebounds and four assists for Sydney while Tom Garlepp continued his career-best season with 21 points, four boards and two assists as well.

Big man Daniel Johnson led the way for the 36ers with 28 points and eight rebounds on the back of shooting 11-of-21 from the field.

Import point guard Gary Ervin also added 24 points, six rebounds, six assists and two steals while shooting an impressive 6-of-8 from downtown.

Jarrid Frye was the only other Sixers player to score in double-figures with 13 points on 6-of-12 shooting from the floor.

The late afternoon game on Australia Day was also in NSW but at the WIN Entertainment Centre as the Melbourne Tigers scored an eight-point victory over the Wollongong Hawks.

Melbourne has now bounced back this weekend to beat both Perth and Wollongong impressively on the road coming off back-to-back losses to the New Zealand Breakers and Sydney Kings.

Overall, the Tigers have now won eight of their last 10 games to deserve to be considered genuine title contenders while Wollongong have slipped to 6-12 having lost three straight games to be struggling to hang onto any hope of still making the finals.

The league's leading scorer Chris Goulding led the way for the Tigers finishing with 31 points, four assists and three rebounds.

Captain Tommy Greer had his best game of the season after missing the first half of the campaign through injury finishing with 21 points and 11 rebounds on the back of shooting 8-of-14 from the field.

Point guard Nate Tomlinson also scored 13 points and had five assists for the Tigers with centre Scott Morrison adding 12 points, six rebounds and four blocked shots.

Friday night's hero Mark Worthington scored just seven points for Melbourne on Sunday but did pull in nine rebounds and dish out three assists.

Wollongong captain Oscar Forman led the way for his team with 21 points and four rebounds on the back of shooting 7-of-10 from three-point range.

Import Kevin Tiggs also added 16 points for the Hawks while Rotnei Clarke finished with 13 points and three assists.

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