Kings rule roost, Bullets shoot for stars

Lamar Patterson (R) celebrates against the 36ers after guiding Brisbane to two NBL wins in round 17.
Lamar Patterson (R) celebrates against the 36ers after guiding Brisbane to two NBL wins in round 17.

If the NBL semi-finals began next week, then Sydney would be standing in the way of a fairytale run to the title for Brisbane.

The Kings remain on track to become the first team in NBL history to lead the league from start to finish after blowing out Melbourne United 106-88 on Sunday.

But it is the Bullets who are the talk of the league after beating South-East Melbourne Phoenix and Adelaide to enter the top four for the first time since October.

Remarkably, Andrej Lemanis' team, who were in second-last spot a month ago, have transformed into unlikely contenders.

Former NBA star Lamar Patterson, who has averaged 25.7 points in his past seven games, has rocketed into contention for the MVP.

Not that Kings coach Will Weaver has noticed.

"Nah, we're done playing them until the qualifying finals," Weaver said when asked whether he had followed the Bullets' late-season resurgence.

However the rookie NBL coach admitted that he saw similarities in the Bullets' style to that of the Dean Vickerman-coached United side.

Vickerman was an assistant to Lemanis for six years during the New Zealand Breakers' dynasty that included the 2011-13 threepeat.

"Obviously Dean and Andrej have spent time together and there are some similar concepts that I think are very sound and dynamic and tough," Weaver said.

"I have lots of friendships and a lot of mates up there.

"I cheer for them when it isn't in conflict with our interests, but I'm not paying much attention to what's going on outside of our team at the moment.

The Bullets catapulted into contention after beating the Phoenix behind Lamar Patterson's game-high 27 points, and Will Magnay's 19 points and seven blocks.

Patterson backed that display up with 29 in their 108-99 defeat of the 36ers, with Matthew Hodgson chipping in with 14 points and 12 rebounds.

The Kings started their perfect weekend with a 102-79 trouncing of Illawarra, with bench guard Deshon Taylor going a perfect five-for-five from distance.

Perth ensured the race for the minor premiership remained alive after surviving a fourth-quarter surge from from the Breakers to prevail 80-79.

Late-season addition Miles Plumlee had 23 points and 17 rebounds.

In the only other game of round 17, Cairns consolidated third spot with a thrilling 103-102 victory over South-East Melbourne.

Australian Associated Press