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Golden Kings squeeze split with Phoenix

Date Posted: 2012-02-17

The Ryukyu Golden Kings invaded Tokyo seeking revenge for last year’s loss to the Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix in the Basketball Japan League championship game, but found the environment no more friendly than last May, but good enough for the visitors to split the series.

David Palmer provided the last moments theatrics with a three-pointer with only six ticks left on the clock Saturday to give Okinawa an 80-78 victory over the Eastern Conference leaders. The Golden Kings victory snapped a six-game win streak for the Phoenix, who are 20-11 on the year. It was a big night for Okinawa, which pushed its record to 25-6, including a 14-3 road wins column.

Naoto Kosuge led Okinawa with 17 points while Narito Namizato poured in 11 points and added five assists. Jeff Newton contributed to the cause with 10 points, 14 rebounds and five assists.

Sunday’s action was no cakewalk for either the Phoenix or the Golden Kings, with the lead seesawing back and forth. Hamamatsu led 28-24 at the quarter break, the Golden Kings bounced back in the second quarter, the Phoenix outscored Okinawa in the third, but Okinawa staged a comeback in the final stanza, but not enough to claim the win. The Phoenix won 101-97, with Jermaine Dixon scoring 36 points for Hamamatsu.

Naoto Kosuge again led Okinawa with 22, followed by Narito Namizato and Jeff Newton with 17 points apiece. Dillion Snead tallied 14 and Anthony McHenry . “We were on a run at the time we didn’t want to be,” said Golden Kings Head Coach Dai Oketani, “and we couldn’t pick the time we wanted to pick, and we couldn’t promote the game under our game plan.”

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