The Perth Wildcats were lucky one point winners in their round 17 matchup against the Sydney Kings as an inexcusable error by Sydney’s Graeme Dann gave the Cats their 13th win from 18 matches.
The Cats fought back from an 11 point last quarter deficit to go up by a point on a put back basket by sixth man Jessie Wagstaff with a minute and a half remaining. Both teams then had chances but failed to execute and star Sydney center Julian Khazzouh was left with a game-winning attempt that didn’t fall. Dann corralled the miss and was fouled on the offensive rebound by Perth’s Kevin Lisch, sending the Sydney forward to the line for two free throws with less than a second on the clock.
Instead of converting the uncontested freebies, Dann inexplicably missed both and Perth escaped with the one point win.
Center Luke Nevill (19 points) and forwards Wagstaff (15) and Shawn Redhage (15) led the Perth attack and the win keeps them second overall position, trailing the New Zealand Breakers only by percentage points.
Melbourne’s poor form continued as the Tigers took a 91-77 hammering at the hands of the Breakers.
Their record has slid to under .500 and now sit sixth, far away from the top four position they held just a couple of weeks ago, and have nine wins from 20 games.
The Breakers took a commanding second quarter lead, a lead they would never relinquish, and received strong performances from American imports Gary Wilkinson (21 points) and Cedric Jackson (10 points, 12 assists).
Cairns’ 12 point victory over Adelaide gave the Taipans a little breathing room within the top four, but with two fewer games in hand their position could come under pressure from the fifth placed Gold Coast Blaze.
Jamar Wilson, the league’s leading scorer, dropped 25 for Cairns while former Wildcat Alex Loughton also pitched in 18 points and seven rebounds.
Photo credit – AP