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DJ leads the band as Sixers tame wild west

ADELAIDE sizzled as NBL champ Perth fizzled today out west, Daniel Johnson turning in a tour de force with a 29-point, 17-rebound performance to underpin the 99-88 road win.

As the annual guessing game began as to whether the Wildcats had the right import in Dario Hunt or whether they had the game to sustain their place in the top four, the 36ers went about their business pulling steadily away, 58-42 ahead by halftime and poised to inflict Perth's second successive loss.

While Nick Kay - so effective in Adelaide - stayed in his slump, Terrico White (knee) offered limited relief, much left as usual to Bryce Cotton at the offensive end for Perth.

But Adelaide was rolling, ahead 29-25 after one, with Johnson and Jerome Randle leading the assault.

Randle's 20 points included 2-of-3 threes and he handed out eight assists.

Johnson was feeling it inside and out, also connecting on 2-of-3 threes, his 29 points coming at 68 percent.

He was firing from the outset and his confidence and attack at Hunt made the Perth import big look very vulnerable. Hunt finished without a field goal, his two points coming off his 2-of-6 return from the free throw line.

Left open early, Damian Martin stuck two 3-pointers and a further basket but from there onwards, the Sixers' strategy worked as he failed to add to his score and spent much of the game uncharacteristically riding the bench.

Already in the boxseat at halftime, Adelaide's 23-13 third period gave it a stunning 81-55 buffer with a period to play, the 36ers' biggest lead a whopping 27 points.

Ramone Moore was giving great service with 12 points and four assists as Adelaide had enough players contributing important cameos - Harry Froling for example with 2-of-2 threes for six points - to leave Perth without answers.

Coach Trevor Gleeson went deep into his bench, finding Luke Travers and Taylor Britt willing to have a crack.

Pressing and harassing, the Wildcats made a contest of the last quarter, winning it 33-18 to give the Red Army some cause for belated joy. But when Perth did reach a point where it was threatening to threaten, Randle hit a couple of shots and Anthony Drmic finished strongly to make a mockery of the teams' respective standings.

Johnson's 29 points were the most by a 36er this season and his 17 rebounds a career mark.

"29 and 17 is huge," 36ers coach Joey Wright said of Johnson's effort. "It's always tough to get a win here.

"We thought if we could control the boards, we could get out and run a little bit."

Adelaide won the boards 51-40. 

ADELAIDE 36ERS 99 (Johnson 29, Randle 20, Moore 12, Griffin 10; Johnson 17 rebs; Randle 8 assts) d PERTH WILDCATS 88 (Cotton 18, White, Wagstaff 13; Wagstaff 6 rebs; Kay 5 assts) at The Jungle, RAC Arena. Crowd: 12,471 

Dec 1

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