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The Sydney Kings have surged to the top of the NBL ladder, cruising past Melbourne United 87-69 to extend their league record for consecutive road wins to 16 games.

The defending champions dominated the second half of Sunday’s matchup at John Cain Arena to hand United their third loss on the trot while jumping ahead of New Zealand and Cairns on the table with a 5-2 record.

The Kings held a narrow 40-39 lead after a see-sawing battle in the first half but took control in the third quarter, outscoring the home team 25-15, then striking early in the final term to put the result beyond doubt.

Sydney finished with five players in double figures, Xavier Cooks and Tim Soares leading the way with 14 points apiece, while Jordan Hunter’s comeback from a long-term injury continues to gain momentum, the centre adding 12 points, seven rebounds and four blocks off the bench.

The Kings’ talent level and depth was on full display as they enjoyed a healthy 31-16 advantage in bench points.

“We’ve shown throughout the season so far that seven or eight, if not more, guys could lead us in scoring any given night,” said Kings coach Chase Buford.

“We’ve got a lot of unselfish guys that like to share the ball … everybody loves the pass, share it.”

After trailing by as many as 38 points in a big loss to the Kings in the same venue back in round two, United came out firing with an 18-6 start thanks to early offence from Isaac Humphries and Rayjon Tucker.

Sydney countered with 10 unanswered points and while United went to the first change ahead 25-22, the visitors opened the second quarter on a 13-2 run with Cooks stamping his class on the contest with his mobility and strength around the rim.

Chris Goulding broke loose for some late baskets to keep United in touch heading into halftime but after a tight start to the third quarter, Sydney made their move with 10 straight points before landing the killer blow with a 12-6 start to the final period.

With Shea Ili and Mason Peatling yet to feature this season, coach Dean Vickerman is hoping his side can improve on their 2-5 record before taking stock of their roster during November’s FIBA window break.

“We’ve got to be the best second-half team in the league right now. We’ve just got to get to this FIBA window, be as close to .500 as we can, if possible, and get some reinforcements,” Vickerman said.

“Then we can actually see what this group is capable of because we’ve seen it in short periods of time but we’re not able to maintain our discipline for 40 minutes.”

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