Wildcats march past Tigers at Perth Arena
The Perth Wildcats have extended their recent run to 5-0, with a 78-58 defeat of the Melbourne Tigers at Perth Arena.
The Wildcats, whose last loss was at the hand of arch rivals the New Zealand Breakers at Vector Arena, produced a 10-0 run near the end of the third quarter to pull away from the Tigers, and eventually cruise to a twenty point win.
The home team’s intensity at the contest proved the difference, with tight defence, strong offensive rebounding and desperate offence on display
Perth finished ahead in rebounds (44-28), blocks (4-1) and assists (18-12), an indication of a team that was in control.
Perhaps the only concern for the Wildcats were the amount of turnovers they conceded (15-12), but the players showed they have the strength, talent, purpose and ability to step up when the game demands it.
The evergreen Shawn Redhage (17 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists) was instrumental for Perth, while Kevin Lisch (14 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists) and Damien Martin (11 points, 6 rebounds, 4 steals) were also at their best.
Adam Ballinger (15 point, 5 rebounds) turned back the clock for the Melbourne side, but with recent Tigers talisman and former NBA player Jonny Flynn (12 points) having a relatively quiet night, Melbourne just didn’t have the arsenal to match the home side.
Perth have rolled on at their new home in the centre of the Western city, with two games to come against the beleaguered Sydney Kings to keep up their charge towards the playoffs.
With the last game of the season a home fixture against the ladder leading New Zealand Breakers, the Wildcats build towards a fitting climax at the end of their first season at Perth Arena.
There is no doubt the move to the new stadium in the centre of the city has re-ignited the Perth basketball public, with attendances over 10,000 a regular occurrence.
It’s a comfortable place to watch basketball, with every seat having a direct and, seemingly close view of the court.
Perhaps the only negative early on at the venue has been the wait to leave after the end of the games, there being only one exit available, but even this tended to turn into a positive experience, with spontaneous chatter between fans an entertaining end to each occasion.
This good will has spilled over to the players, the team seaming to have grown even more as a unit under the deafening noise of the red army with a real fortress of a home court that intimidates opposition teams.
Despite the first up loss against the Adelaide 36′s, the Wildcats have become untouchable on their home court, with a 10-0 record since that first game.
This makes the final round fixture against the Breakers the perfect lead in to the finals and a mouth-watering prospect for Perth basketball fans.
If the Perth Wildcats continue to play in the fashion they currently are, the New Zealand Breakers will have to bring their best game to beat them.
And that is something to look forward to.
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