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GAME REPORT

Kings Prevail as Adams, Cotton Put on a Show

For the second time in six days the Sydney Kings almost lifted the roof off Qudos Bank Arena as they clung on for the clutch 98-95 victory against the Perth Wildcats on Saturday night.

The Kings had a four-point lead entering the last minute but a whole slew of errors in their back court gave the Wildcats a chance.

That was not limited to fouling Vic Law, giving up a tech foul for overstepping on the in-bounds pass and turning the ball over, and the 'Cats were able to get back to within a point as a result after Kings superstar Jaylen Adams jumped over the line while guarding an in-bound pass.

Perth had the chance for the go-ahead bucket but perhaps could have got a better look than the deep three attempted by Vic Law. His shot didn’t fall, the Kings claimed the defensive rebound and then somehow avoided a Wildcats foul that would have kept the game alive.

Sydney was able to get the ball up the floor for a Xavier Cooks flush to secure the three-point win that keeps the momentum rolling for the Kings who have now won six of their past seven to be knocking on the door of the top four.

Adams was exceptional with 18 of his 31 points in the first half for the Kings as he even eyed off a triple-double with eight assists and seven rebounds in a standout performance on 11/19 shooting.

Fellow star import Jarell Martin put up another 21 points and seven rebounds with Cooks finishing with 18 points and nine rebounds. 

Kings coach Chase Buford said it was a big win for his club.

"It was a heck of a ball game. They played well. We played well. They made shots. We had some answers at the rim," Buford said. 

"Just a really back and forth game from two good teams and I was proud that our guys were able to make enough plays when it mattered to get the win."

NBA championship winner Ian Clark showed a glimpse of what he'll bring to the Kings on debut as well with 13 points in 19 minutes including knocking down 3/4 from deep.

Clark said he was happy to contribute to the win and had more improvement to come.

"The guys give me confidence. They want me to shoot and be aggressive and be the person that a player that I am," Clark said.

"I know that it's going take time and this is just my first game back for some time but I just want to win and being able to compete on the defensive end. With the way that we play, it's going to come free-flowing and we're going to get shots like that."

Despite a sore thumb, Wildcats superstar Bryce Cotton was a constant threat with 17 of his 33 points in the second half to keep his team alive. He went 8/17 from beyond the arc and also had four assists.

Luke Travers delivered 16 points and five rebounds for the 'Cats, Law 14 points, Mitch Norton 14 points, six rebounds and four assists, and captain Jesse Wagstaff in the starting role 12 points.

Wildcats coach Scott Morrison said his side’s biggest concern was their defensive mistakes.

"They kept going on runs and I felt I had used my timeouts to try and slow the momentum and re-organise us.

"The guys did a pretty good job fighting back, it definitely wasn't the last two minutes that cost us the game. I’m more worried about our defensive mistakes.

"It sounds simple but layups are the easiest shot in basketball and I know back home I remember a junior high school coach saying if you just get more layups than the other team, you win.

"It's the same in any league. You get more layups, you probably have a good chance to win so defensively you should never get a layup uncontested. 

"That's why I'm disappointed because we gave them easy buckets. Their guys are great players. They're going to get the buckets but you can't give them easy layups."

The Kings were on song early as Xavier Cooks opened scoring with a tip-dunk as the home side’s lead went out to 24-14 midway through the quarter and 31-24 at quarter-time with Jayden Adams leading from the front.

But the Wildcats found their way back in the second quarter and Vic Law put his side up 38-37 after a four-point play as Ian Clark bumped into him as he took and made a three-point shot.

The Wildcats were benefitting from drawing fouls and making free throws shooting 13/15 from the line to take the lead as Cotton’s late three-pointer saw the margin out to 51-45 at half-time.

Clark showed his class in the third term giving his side a 71-64 lead midway through the third quarter and the Kings had the lead going into the fourth up 74-67.

The Kings and Wildcats traded blows throughout the last quarter but the home side came up with the big plays in the final minutes.

Jarell Martin’s three saw them ahead 96-89 with 1:18 to play but Jesse Wagstaff made a three on the next play and Vic Law made two free throws soon after to cut the lead to 96-93 with a minute left.

The Wildcats missed their last chance to take the lead and Cooks dunked to make sure of the win.

The Wildcats play South East Melbourne Phoenix at John Cain Arena next Saturday night and the Kings play Adelaide 36ers at Adelaide Entertainment Centre next Sunday afternoon.

HUNGRY JACK'S NBL ROUND 12

SYDNEY KINGS 98 (Adams 31, Martin 21, Cooks 18)

PERTH WILDCATS 95 (Cotton 33, Travers 16, Law 14, Norton 14) 

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