WINNING in Perth remains the final frontier for the Sydney Kings after the Wildcats secured a 93-80 victory last night despite a stunning shooting performance from Brad Newley.
The Kings are yet to win in Perth in 13 attempts now, while the Wildcats have won 21 of 23 games against the Kings since 2010-11.
The Wildcats opened a 17-point first half advantage but Sydney had all the momentum with four minutes left and down just three, but they would not score again.
Perth hit the last 10 points, including a clutch three to returning point guard Jarrod Kenny, to win comfortably after overcoming Newley’s 34 points.
It was a stunning and intense opening by Perth without Damian Martin still and with Kenny (five points, five assists) returning to start.
It was that intensity that helped overcome Martin’s absence with Casey Prather leading from the front with 28 points and five assists.
Jaron Johnson came up big with 16 points, while Jesse Wagstaff added 10 and Matt Knight battled hard for six points and eight rebounds.
Even though Jameel McKay – who battled illness during the week – was barely sighted in the first three quarters, his four points and two fourth-quarter blocks proved pivotal.
The effort of development player Mason Bragg with seven first half points were also important.
Newley did everything to try and see the Kings win in Perth Arena for the first time with 34 points, eight rebounds, four assists and a stunning seven from 10 from distance.
Kevin Lisch remains winless as an opposition player in Perth in five attempts despite 21 points and four assists, while Jason Cadee had a night to forget going scoreless and struggling defensively.
Wildcats coach Trevor Gleeson was thrilled with the effort of his team.
“That was just great Wildcats basketball, playing unselfish, having each other’s back, playing as a team and that’s our best team win of the year, without a question,” he said.
“It’s been a tough week for us with all the injuries and a few other sicknesses and other things, so to come out and play the way we did was a credit to the guys.”
Perth Wildcats 93 (Prather 28, Johnson 16, Wagstaff 10)
Sydney Kings 80 (Newley 34, Lisch 21, Powell 6, Whittington 6)