Nick Kay impressed in a beaten, and off-target, Perth Wildcats side in Sydney on Thursday night.
The Wildcats suffered only their second loss of the season going down to the Sydney Kings 77-72 at QUDOS Bank Arena.
The Wildcats had their opportunities to pick up a memorable road win, but it wasn't their night from the field, hitting 37 per cent of their attempts.
Trailing by 10 at the half and by as much as 15 points in the third quarter, the league-leaders showed why they had previously only dropped one game, making it a one-point game late in the contest.
However, the Kings were able to close out down the stretch to become just the second team to beat the Wildcats in 2018/19.
Back from Australian duties, Kay was again impressive for Perth with 17 points and eight rebounds. Terrico White also added 17 while Clint Steindl was important with 16.
Greg Hire set the tone for his team and finished with eight rebounds and outstanding hustle plays.
"We fought all game, but we shouldn't get in that position ourselves, we didn't play Wildcats basketball tonight and that showed on the scoreboard,” Kay said.
“It's professional sport, sometimes guys go down and other guys need to step up. We'll likely have to do the same thing again on Sunday."
Bryce Cotton was a late withdrawal from the Wildcats team as he continues to recover from a thumb injury.
Captain Damian Martin played his first game since October and was lively with five rebounds and two steals.
Perth dominated the backboards with 44-35 rebounds.
The Perth Wildcats now return home for their first of just two December home games.