The Sydney Kings have again proven too strong for fierce rival Melbourne, overcoming the Tigers 100-92 in the top-of-the-table NBL game at the State Netball and Hockey Centre.
The Kings have now beaten their old foe twice in three weeks in Melbourne, fighting back from a sloppy start on the back of a game-high 20-point haul from forward Mark Worthington and an amazing second-quarter turnaround.
The Kings trailed 27-20 at the first break but Worthington nailed the first eight points of the second period, inspiring the ladder-leaders to a 33-12 second-term blitz for a 14-point buffer at halftime.
The Tigers rallied in the second half and got within four points with 36 seconds left in the game, but foul trouble meant the Kings sealed the win from the free-throw line.
The Kings' victory extends their lead atop the table, recovering from Wednesday's surprise home loss to Perth to move to 13-2 for the season, while the Tigers (9-4) have slipped to third behind idle Brisbane (10-4).
Worryingly for the Tigers, they have now dropped four straight games after starting the season with nine consecutive victories.
Sydney have also now won the season series over Melbourne with one game left, in the harbour city in round 16.
Worthington was well supported by centre Ian Crosswhite (15 points), who hit some clutch baskets towards at the death and did a good job holding Tigers captain Chris Anstey.
Anstey fired the home side in the first quarter and finished with 19 points, but only six after halftime, while former King David Barlow (15 points) was the Tigers' only regular scorer in the second half.
Sydney's poor start included coach Brian Goorjian subbing out his entire starting five in the opening minutes, 11 fouls for the quarter, wayward passes and Worthington conceding an unsportsmanlike foul for a challenge on Anstey.
But Worthington made amends in the second term by hitting a three which gave his side the lead and inspired the Kings' brilliant run.