Sydney's all-time NBL record 17-game road-winning streak has come to a pulsating end after Cairns overcame a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit to beat the Kings 94-88 in overtime at the Cairns Convention Centre.
Keanu Pinder (30 points, 13 rebounds) was terrific throughout the Monday night classic and proved unstoppable during the five-minute extension to tip Sydney off the top of the ladder.
He was aided by import DJ Hogg (20 points), who shook off a horrific shooting night to come up big with 12 fourth-quarter points.
Hogg nailed a pair of three-point daggers inside the final 40 seconds of regulation, the second one tying the scores and forcing overtime.
Kings captain Xavier Cooks posted 25 points and 10 boards in a fine return from an ankle injury.
But when he fouled out with 3:37 left in the fourth term, with Sydney up by eight points, Cairns didn't look back.
"DJ struggled all game but he's a big-time player and he made the big-time shots when it was needed," Taipans coach Adam Forde said.
"I felt real confident going into overtime.
"I thought momentum was in our favour."
Cooks scored Sydney's first six points before Cairns recovered some ground late and trimmed the Kings' quarter-time lead to 24-23 when skipper Tahjere McCall launched a long outlet pass in the last second of the term to Sam Waardenburg, who spun around and buried a three-point prayer on the buzzer.
Pinder went to work in the second period which, after seven changes, ended with scores tied at 44-44 on Cooks' last-second tip-in.
The Taipans went cold in the third stanza, going 1-of-11 from downtown, while the Kings, conversely, finally found their range from outside through Derrick Walton Jr and Angus Glover.
Sydney outscored the home side 21-11 for the quarter and looked in total command when their buffer swelled to 69-55 before Pinder and Hogg took over.
"We were doing well, they fouled Xav out, we didn't do so well after that," Kings coach Chase Buford said.
"We had our opportunity, we turned it over a lot, we didn't handle the rough moments that we couldn't control."