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Hawks shade Kings in fiery NBL contest

Boomers big man Duop Reath is quickly making his mark on the NBL, producing a second consecutive standout performance in the Illawarra Hawks’ 92-84 away win over old rivals Sydney Kings.

Reath followed up an 18-point, nine rebound effort on debut last week with a match-high 27 point haul at Qudos Bank Arena on Saturday.

The athletic Reath made 12 of 17 shots from the field, including three of four from long range.

When the Kings got within a point with just over two minutes remaining, Reath nailed a dagger triple, effectively ending the home team’s hopes.

After the two club owners exchanged potshots in the media during the week, the feisty attitude carried on to the court in a typically-combative affair between the two teams.

The match bubbled over in the final 30 seconds when former Hawk Angus Glover was given a disqualification foul for dropping his knee into Sam Froling, who had just blocked his shot.

Hawks import Justinian Jessup rushed in and shoved Glover and was slapped with an unsportsmanlike foul.

“They were taking it seriously, we were taking it serious,” Reath told ESPN.

“It was competitive, it’s fun basketball.”

The Hawks, who moved to 2-0, led for much of the game against a depleted Sydney side who were missing import guards Jaylen Adams (ankle) and RJ Hunter who pulled out just before the game with a knee issue.

Reath apart, American guard Antonius Cleveland starred for the Hawks, proving unstoppable in transition.

He stuffed the stats sheet with 19 points at 53 per cent from the field, seven rebounds, four steals and two blocks.

The Kings (1-1) won the rebound count 52-39, but racked up 10 more turnovers, with some of those proving hurtful down the stretch and also gave up eight more steals.

Froling was the only Hawks starter not to score in double digits but he contributed a team-high 11 rebounds in addition to nine points.

Glover, whose first season with Sydney was wrecked by the latest in a series of serious knee injuries, topscored for the Kings with 16 points and also bagged seven boards in an energetic performance.

All five Sydney starters scored in double figures with another Wollongong product, Xavier Cooks, sparking his side with 14 points, 11 rebounds and five assists.

Sydney led by one at quarter time and Illawarra by three at the half.

Six straight points gave Sydney a 58-57 lead in the third quarter but a three-pointer to Tyler Harvey regained the lead for the Hawks, who never lost it and scored the last seven points of the contest.

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