Phoenix gain as Ryukyu Golden Kings drop pair

It was a double edged sword for the Ryukyu Golden Kings, losing a pair of games to the Shiga Lakestars, and then learning their nemesis Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix tied their league-leading record.

The Golden Kings suffered big both days, unable to catch fire against the Lakestars, who move to 17-11 with the victories.  Shiga won Saturday, 80-69, with Anthony McHenry the Golden Kings’ top point-maker with 17, plus ten rebounds.  Jeff Newton Had 13 and Dzaflo Larkai and Narito Namizato each scored 11.

It didn’t get much better Sunday as the Lakestars sank 11 of 23 three-pointers against Okinawa, which took an 83-73 shellacking as they slipped to 20-6.  The Golden Kings could muster only five three-pointers as they lost a third straight game.  In the series, Okinawa went 11-for=55 from three-point territory.  Anthony McHenry was again Okinawa’s point-getter, scoring 23.  Naoto Kosuge added 13 and Narito Namizato had 12.

The Phoenix pushed into the 20-game win column with a victory over the Susanoo Magic, 93-89, pressuring the home team into 20 turnovers, enough to make the difference.  Angry, the Magic weren’t to be denied in front of the home fans, roaring back to capture an 81-75 win Sunday to put the Phoenix at 20-10 while improving their own record to 18-10.

A brand new coach seemed to make all the difference for the struggling Osaka Evessa, who provided new leader Bill Cartwright with a victory in his first game Saturday, slipping past the Miyazaki Shining Suns 83-73.  The squad was thrilled with the renewed energy, and roared back Sunday to do it again, taking charge of that game in the third stanza, then hanging on for an 89-79 sweep.

The Sendai 89ers found the range against the Tokyo Cinq Reves 86-73 on Saturday, but were thumped themselves on Sunday, losing to the expansion team 96-78.  The Cinq Reves improve to 11-16 while Sendai slipped to 9-16.  The Chiba Jets swept a pair from the Shinshu Brave Warriors, hammering them  87-65 Saturday and 91-75 on Sunday.  The victories push the Jets to 13-12, while the Brave Warriors hold at 13-14.

The Takamatsu Five Arrows outlasted the Oita HeatDevils 70-55 on Saturday, taking a road win.  Sunday didn’t go Takamatsu’s way, as the HeatDevils rallied for an 88-79 win.  Both teams are now 10-17.  The Kyoto Hannaryz outlasted the Fukuoka Rizing 96-81 on Saturday, but were on the short end of the stick Sunday as five Rizing players a scored double three-pointers en route to a 95-71 win.  Kiyoto’s now 14-12, while the Rizing is 16-10.

The Iwate Big Bulls had to share the winners circle with the Akita Northern Happinets, giving up the first game to Akita 81-71, but winning the second matchup in front of Akita’s home fans, 73-53.  The Big Bulls are now at the top of the pack with a 20-7 record, while the Northern Happinets are  midway in the pack at 14-11.  It wasn’t a good weekend for the Gunma Crane Thunders, who lost a pair to the Toyama Grouses.  The grouses won 74-67 and 78-72 to push their record to 18-10, while the expansion Gunma squad is 5-23.

The Niigata Albirex BB pushed past the Saitama Broncos 100-83 Saturday, then did it again 97-75 Sunday to sweep the series and improve to 22-8 in the Eastern Conference.  The Broncos fall to 3-23 to hold the cellar in place.  3-53.