The Sydney Kings' playoff hopes took a heavy body blow in Melbourne on Sunday but they are far from knocked out.
Sydney have retained fourth spot in the standings despite the loss because the chasing Wollongong Hawks also suffered a defeat on the weekend, losing by three at home to Cairns.
The Kings (11-13) are now only a remote chance of reeling in the third-placed Tigers (14-12) after the 92-82 result in front of a noisy 7352 fans at Hisense Arena. Wollongong (11-14) and Cairns (11-15) still hold out hope of eliminating Sydney from the playoff picture.
Tigers sharpshooter Chris Goulding poured in a superb 50 points in the win over the Kings, knocking down 20 of his 33 field goal attempts.
Mark Worthington (15 points, six rebounds), Tommy Greer (five rebounds) and Nate Tomlinson (nine assists) provided the support act to Goulding's starring role.
"It was a weird one because the game was so close," Goulding told the NBL website after the game. "It wasn't like, 'Give him the ball and see if he can get to 50'. I could see how many points I had but I wasn't really thinking about that. It was more we needed to get this win, we were trying to get back to the playoffs, trying to get a win at Hisense and trying to get a win against a team we hadn't beaten all year."
Sam Young paced Sydney with 22 points and eight boards while skipper Ben Madgen dropped 19.
The visitors led 26-25 after the first quarter and held a 53-51 advantage at the main break but the Tigers surged to a 70-62 advantage heading into the final term.
Tigers coach Chris Anstey, a former NBA player, was very impressed: "That's as good an offensive game as I've seen."
Kings coach Shane Heal, another with NBA experience, said Goulding was too good for his team.
"Chris had an unbelievable game, he played really well, so you take your hat off to him and congratulate him. But I didn't feel like we made it difficult for him. It didn't feel like there was the urgency there or the fight to be able to stop a very, very good offensive player. We leave really disappointed."