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The NBL title goes through Perth, as usual


THE road to the NBL championship has been running through Perth for some three decades now and today’s completion of their 2-0 semi final sweep of Brisbane means that number now grows to 33.

There was a time when winning a championship meant coming through Leroy Loggins (1982-83-84-85-86-87-90) and – except in 1982-83 – his Bullets.

But that time is long gone as the Bullets today gave it their best shot at Brisbane Entertainment Centre, but always appeared to be chasing a superior opponent focused on the ultimate.

Of course, losing veteran warrior Mika Vukona pre-game to a partially torn Achilles tendon – 30 percent torn, apparently, and it happened in the first quarter of Game 1 but he battled on through it! – didn’t do Brisbane much good.

But right from tip-off, and despite some genuine resolve from Brisbane, Perth looked a team on a mission and, frankly, unlikely to lose despite the Bullets’ best efforts.

Remember too, Perth still is down Mitch Norton (calf) but fingers out west are crossed he will be back for Game 1 of the best-of-five grand final starting on Friday against Melbourne.

Or Sydney.

If the Kings lose tomorrow though, that too is done-and-dusted, which would mean their departure would go hand-in-hand with that of coach Andrew Gaze.

These were Andrew’s comments (right) last year to Sydney’s Daily Telegraph so if the Kings are not alive beyond tomorrow, you know he will be taking it on the chin. And rightly so.

But in BRISBANE, it was Terrico White again doing the damage for Perth with 24 points at 50 percent.

He was ably supported by Bryce Cotton with a 19-point, 10-assists double-double, his career-best assists return and the first Wildcat into double-digit assists in a playoff game since the legendary Ricky Grace in 2003.

Nick Kay also left no doubt why he was NBL First Team with a 16-point, 15-rebound double-double.

Lamar Patterson lifted to lead Brisbane with 19 points and Matt Hodgson was a beast in the paint at times.

But yet again Brisbane was let down by some of its major-minute under-achievers and alternate game stars, suggesting to go any further next season the club must weed out its gems from its abundant stock of fool’s gold.

SEMI FINAL (1v4)
Game 1
: PERTH WILDCATS 89 (Cotton 22, White 19, Kay 18, Brandt 12; Kay 10 rebs; Cotton 6 assts) d BRISBANE BULLETS 59 (Gliddon 18, Hodgson 10; Hodgson 7 rebs; Patterson 6 assts) at RAC Arena.
Game 2: PERTH WILDCATS 84 (White 24, Cotton 19, Kay 16; Kay 15 rebs; Cotton 10 assts) d BRISBANE BULLETS 79 (Patterson 19, Hodgson 15, Bairstow 12, Gliddon 10; Bairstow 7 rebs; Gibson 5 assts) at Brisbane Entertainment Centre. Wildcats sweep series 2-0

Mar 2

Content, unless otherwise indicated, is © copyright Boti Nagy.