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Golden Kings ready for season finales

Date Posted: 2012-04-20

Fresh from a rejuvenating weekend off, the Ryukyu Golden Kings roar back into action this weekend, taking on the Chiba Jets in a series at the Ginowan City Gymnasium.

Coach Dai Oketani’s squad, sporting the best record in the Basketball Japan League with a 35-13 record, faces off against the 18-30 first year expansion team. Tip off Saturday and Sunday is at 5 p.m.

In weekend BJL action, the Chiba Jets split their home stand finale, beating the Miyazaki Shining Suns 96-88 Saturday, but losing a 78-76 squeaker on Sunday. Neither team is destined for the playoffs. The Fukuoka Rizing picked up a pair of road victories over the Saitama Broncos, 97-78 and 75-69, leaving the door open to a playoff berth. The Broncos have the worst record in the Eastern Conference with a 14-34 mark.

The Osaka Evessa, who trail Okinawa by two games in the Western Conference but which the Golden Kings have already locked up, were pleased with their first weekend without longtime star Lynn Washington. The Evessa pulled out tough wins against the Toyama Grouses 85-81 and 81-78, most probably knocking the Grouses out of playoffs contention. Washington abruptly retired from the team on which he was a power forward during their run to three consecutive champions in 2005-2008. The Albirex BB had an easy time of it Saturday against the Kyoto Hannaryz, winning on the road 78-66. It was close Sunday, but the Niigata team couldn’t hang on, losing 90-82 in overtime. The 26-22 Albirex BB and the 31-17 Hannaryz are both on the bubble as they battle for playoff births with two weekends to go.

The Iwate Big Bulls aced the Sendai 89ers 80-72 in the first game of their series, but were dumped 83-51 in the Sunday series ender. The Big Bulls season is nearly over, while Sendai, at 25-23, is nip-and-tuck with the Albirex BB for a playoff slot. The Yokohama B-Corsairs added their nails into the cellar coffin of the Takamatsu Five Arrows, pushing the hapless team to a 2-46 record in the Western Conference. The Corsairs hammered the Five Arrows in their series finale, 87-58. The expansion B-Corsairs are 27-21, with still a chance for the playoffs.

The Shiga Lakestars whupped up on the Shinshu Brave Warriors, who were brave enough to take the punishment of an 85-59 loss to Shiga, then stand tall for an 82-68 shellacking. Shiga’s now 32-16, and short of a meltdown in the final two weekends, will head to the Western Division playoffs. The Eastern Conference leaders, the Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix, split its series with the Oita HeatDevils, edging the home squad 93-90 on Saturday, only to get hammered 105-93 on Sunday. The Phoenix has the Eastern Conference title wrapped up with its 33-15 record, while the HeatDevils have four games remaining that won’t settle much of anything.

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