Slim chances of finals alive

GOLD Coast Blaze kept its faint playoff chances alive but was pushed to the last minute by cellar-dwellers Sydney Kings in a nailbiting 94-91 win at the Gold Coast Convention Centre on Sunday.

Though their destiny lies outside their control, the Gold Coast did all it could to remain in finals calculations.

A strong team performance was key for the Blaze, led by co-captain James Harvey (20 points), in his first home game since returning from a long injury layoff, assisted by Mark Worthington (18) and Ira Clark (17).

Gold Coast cruised to a 16-point lead, the largest of the match, but stellar performances from Sydney’s Julian Khazzouh (19) and Patrick Sanders (17) kept their team in the mix until the dying seconds.

As the second half began, the Kings continued their charge to claw back into the contest and took the margin down to just two points.

Just seconds from the buzzer, Graeme Dann drove to the basket to dramatically level the scores – but Jason Cadee was fouled and went two-for-two at the line to ensure the hosts went into the last change with their noses ahead.

All the momentum was with the Sydney Kings but a calf injury to Dickel as the final quarter began seemed to stun the visitors, with Worthington taking first points of the quarter.

The Blaze and Kings traded blows and the visitors took the lead with five minutes remaining, but the see-sawing contest continued after Gibson fired from the line to restore parity.

A controversial foul on Harvey was called in the dying seconds, and the Blaze co-captain converted his free throws to take the margin back out to four.

It was an unassailable lead, consigning the visitors to their 15th loss and keeping the Gold Coast’s slim chances of finals basketball alive.

Gold Coast Blaze 94 (Harvey 20, Worthington 18, Clark 17) d Sydney Kings 91 (Khazzouh 19, Sanders 17, Gilder 14, Martin 14).

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