The Sydney Kings have ended their mini-slump and consolidated top spot in the NBL with a decisive 110-98 victory over South-East Melbourne.
Sydney entered the contest having lost three of their past four games, including a seven-point defeat to Brisbane on Saturday evening.
The four-game stretch was easily the worst of the season for coach Will Weaver, and another loss would've left them vulnerable to second-placed Perth.
However the title favourites returned to their winning ways on Monday with a balanced offensive effort that included eight players scoring at least eight points.
And it was two of their bench players that led the way.
Veteran big man Daniel Kickert paced the Kings with a season-high 18 points, while import DeShon Taylor also had a career night with 15.
Taylor belied his 18 per cent shooting from distance by going five-from-six.
"This man can shoot. He shot 40 per cent in college, he's a shooter," Weaver said of the 23-year-old point guard who went undrafted in the NBA this year.
"It's real positive. Everybody believes in my shot, so I just had to go out there and believe in myself as well," Taylor added.
However the victory was soured by a suspected leg injury to NBA draftee Didi Louzada, who limped off midway through the final quarter.
Phoenix star John Roberson had a game-high 23 points, but it wasn't enough to prevent his side from slumping to a fourth loss in five games.
Little separated both teams in a high-octane opening quarter before the Kings upped the ante by pounding the paint in the second period.
The Phoenix allowed the Kings to waltz to the rim at will, with 40 of Sydney's 59 first-half points coming inside the restricted area.
Only the play of Phoenix pair and Mitch Creek and Roberson, who combined for 28 their team's 47 first-half points, limited the Kings to a 12-point halftime lead.
South-East Melbourne threatened to make it a contest when Roberson nailed three consecutive bombs early in the third quarter to get within five.
Then Sydney responded with a long-range barrage of their own.
The Kings connected on five of their 10 attempts for the period, including three from Taylor, and a buzzer-beating bomb from Kickert, for a 17-point lead.
And despite the Phoenix making a couple of pushes in the final quarter, Sydney held firm for a well-deserved victory in front of a home crowd of 10,070.
"Our defence needs work, simple as that. It was a bit of pick your poison and always is with Sydney," South-East Melbourne coach Scott Mitchell said.
"We gotta try and chance their arm, say, 'Well, we're taking away something and you're going to have beat us with the three-ball', and they did."