Sydney ended Cairns' NBL title hopes with an impressive 80-74 win in Cairns on Saturday night.
Needing a win to stay alive, the Taipans were out-sized by Sydney from the outset.
They gave up a 14-point headstart after 10 minutes and, despite constantly challenging, were never able to drag the Kings back.
Jerai Grant imposed his massive frame on the injury-hit Snakes with 21 points, 17 of which came in the first half.
He, Anatoly Bose (18 points, 11 rebounds) and Julian Khazzouh (17 points, 10 rebounds, five assists) led the way as Kings' coach Shane Heal had the last laugh in front of a near sell-out crowd.
On a night when they needed shooting guard Drew Warren to fire, he did not.
The rookie shot 1-of-11 and could only shake his head as his efforts rimmed out and he watched the final quarter from the bench.
After scoring 17 points, a shattered Alex Loughton limped off in the late stages of the third quarter, making the task even harder for Cairns.
Point guard Jamar Wilson battled hard again for 27 points but the Taipans could not make the big plays when needed.
In the opening stages Grant, Bose and Khazzouh were an unstoppable force inside as Taipans' enforcer Ian Crosswhite was kept to light duties on his dodgy left ankle.
Those three helped the Kings surge to an early 17-4 lead in front of the disillusioned crowd.
At 25-9, Taipans coach Aaron Fearne had finally seen enough and called time out.
Things marginally improved as the hosts when to the first break down 26-14.
The Kings shot at 61 per cent in the first quarter, a statistic helped by a staggering 20 of their 26 points coming in the paint.
While they cooled off to a still-impressive 51 per cent, they always seemed to make the shots needed to blunt repeated Taipans challenges.
AAPTags: nbl, basketball, sport, sydney-2000, nsw, australia, cairns-4870, qld First posted March 17, 2012 23:28:37