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Golden Kings split, miss chance to close the gap

Date Posted: 2010-04-21

The Ryukyu Golden Kings had opportunities to narrow the margin with Osaka in the Basketball Japan League’s Western Conference, only to let them trickle through and give the Kyoto Hannaryz a Sunday 91-77 victory. Playing on the road, Okinawa slipped to 29-19 despite Jeff Newton’s 20-points and 13 rebounds performance.

The defending champion Golden Kings had disposed of Kyoto handily on Saturday, winning 95-72 as the regular season winds down. Okinawa faces the Takamatsu Five Arrows at home in Naha City gym this weekend. Both Saturday and Sunday games begin at 7 p.m. The weekend should be profitable as the Golden Kings face the 12-34 Five Arrows.

Eastern Conference leading Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix dodged a challenge from the Niigata Albirex BB, winning 107-95 Sunday after rolling to an easy 90-74 victory on Saturday. The Phoenix now stand at 37-9 on the year, while Niigata stays close in the playoffs picture with a 22-24 record.

Elsewhere, the Osaka Evessa roared back from a Saturday loss that shattered a ten-game win streak, drubbing Rizing Fukuoka 81-62 on its home court. The Evessa had lost Saturday 86-82. Osaka holds a slim lead in the Western Conference over Okinawa, carrying its 29-17 record toward the final weeks of play behind MVP Lynn Washington. Rizing Fukuoka isn’t out of the playoff picture either, sporting a 28-20 record.

The fifth place Toyama Grouses are four games behind the Tokyo Apache as the two squads each have six games left to play. The Grouses lost 98-76 Sunday and 85-79 Saturday to the Sendai 89ers, who are close behind the Phoenix in the Eastern Conference.

The Shiga Lakestars are keeping the playoffs picture tight, sweeping a pair from the Takamatsu Five Arrows and pushing their record to 26-22. Shiga won Saturday 99-94 behind the 29-point shooting spree of Masashi Joho, and 84-70 Sunday, again with Joho providing 22 points.

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