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Golden Kings lose a pair in Kyoto

Date Posted: 2012-04-06

The winningest team in the Basketball Japan League found the climate in Kyoto something between chilly and frigid, losing two consecutive games for the first time this season.

The Ryukyu Golden Kings are in shock. They knew going up against the second-ranked team in the Eastern Conference wouldn’t be a cakewalk, but they weren’t prepared for the Kyoto Hannaryz to dump them 83-76 on Saturday. With the season down to its last couple of weekends, the Golden Kings figured on a better Sunday, but the Hannaryz held on for a 79-75 win. For a team used to dominating, it was a stunning weekend.

Anthony McHenry, Dzaflo Larkai and Narito Namizato each had only 13 points for Okinawa on Saturday, and only Naoto Kosuge with 19 had a bright Sunday. Normal team leaders Dillion Sneed and Anthony McHenry each scored only 11.

The Golden Kings are already playoffs-bound, but that wasn’t the point. Okinawa slips to 34-12, and are 17-7 on the road. What hurt Sunday was going only 50% --8-for-16—from the free throw line. Kyoto’s stock continued to soar, posting a 28-16 record as they chase the Eastern Division leading Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix, who have a 30-13 record.

The Osaka Evessa, who hold second place in the Western Conference, split a series with the Miyazaki Shining Suns. With an 83-61 drubbing by the Shining Suns on Saturday, Osaka squeezed by on Sunday to win 93-90, and protect a 30-14 record. To the north, the Phoenix pushed their record to 31-13 with wins over the Akita Northern Happinets, 92-81 and 85-71. The Happinets are still eyeballing the playoffs with their 29-19 record.

Elsewhere, the Iwate Big Bulls wrapped up a series with the Chiba Jets with an 85-78 win. Neither team is in the playoffs hunt. The red hot Saitama Broncos rallied Sunday after being spanked hard on Saturday, when they lost 101-61 to the Sendai 89ers. On Sunday, Saitama found its shooting range and pulled off an 82-69 win, showing that despite their 12-31 record, worst in the league’s 10-team Eastern Conference, they still can play basketball.

The Toyama Grouses split a series with the Susanoo Magic, winning 72-61 and losing Sunday 75-70. The Shimane Susanoo Magic holds a 24-22 record, still hoping for a playoffs berth. The Shinshu Brave Warriors were on top of their game, easily outpacing the league’s worst team, the Takamatsu Five Arrows, with 94-86 and 92-81 wins. Shinshu’s now 17-27, while the Five Arrows are 2-42.

The Shiga Lakestars swept a pair from the Oita HeatDevils, 82-80 and 87-70, to improve to 28-16. The Fukuoka Rizing also swept their series with the Niigata Albirex BB with 97-94 and 73-72 wins.

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