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Sixers alive as Kings stumble again: NBL

UNIVERSALLY picked to finish dead last - a rung they sat comfortably on under previous coach CJ Bruton - Scott Ninnis' Adelaide 36ers today head to Tasmania starting the day in seventh position and with their long-shot dream of post-season action still alive, courtesy of former Kings Isaac Humphries and Dejan Vasiljevic sinking Sydney last night. 

Humphries closed the match with a 10-point final quarter as the Sixers left Sydney gasping on their fumes with a 31-19 coup de grace.

Vasiljevic, mixing completing three-point plays - often at Angus Glover's expense - with slick assists, also bamboozled his former team and even another Sydneysider, Jason Cadee, hurt it with some big shots in key moments. 

As they did last time they lost in Adelaide, the Kings once again fell wildly in love with the 3-point line, a love which simply never was reciprocated.

Sydney went 8-of-35 (22 percent) from long range, imports Denzel Valentine (2-of-10), Jaylen Adams (2-of-6) and returnee DJ Hogg (0-of-3) the main offenders.

From tip-off, Adelaide's resolve to take its win-loss record to 11-14 - that's now 7-5 under Ninnis - was evident in its defensive commitment.

A dour 17-18 first quarter evolved into an equally eye-scratching 37-41 half, which belied the truth the 36ers were playing the better basketball.

A Trey Kell three-point play, a Cadee three and a Humphries turnaround J all were part of a 9-0 start to the third period that swept Adelaide 46-41 clear.

Vasiljevic from the stripe (he was 7-of-7) and Kell with another 3-pointer pushed Adelaide on to 53-43, a 16-2 reaction that had another huge crowd roaring its approval.

From there, Sydney played arguably its best ball of the night, Adams, Valentine, Hogg and Jordie Hunter all active in a 16-1 reply of its own to put it ahead 59-54 with a quarter left.

Humphries and a Cadee three-point play quickly tied it up and it was a war of attrition, Sydney 69-66 ahead inside the final five minutes.

A 12-0 run capped by a Kyrin Galloway three and driven by its defence and some woeful heroball Sydney shot selection, blew the match apart for Adelaide, ahead 78-69.

Sunday Dech closed proceedings with a long 3-point swish, capping off some fine defence he played on Adams, the latter's two late long bombs inflating his score to a 21-point game which overall though came off 6-of-21 shooting.

ADELAIDE 36ers 85 (Humphries, Vasiljevic 20, Kell 15, Cadee 12; Humphries 11 rebs; Kell 7 assts) d SYDNEY KINGS 78 (Adams 21, Valentine 12, Hunter 10; Valentine 9 rebs; Valentine, Adams 5 assts) at Adelaide Entertainment Centre. Crowd: 9,434

Feb 3

Content, unless otherwise indicated, is © copyright Boti Nagy.