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Thomas dominates Pinder, Cats win again

Chris Pike

TaShawn Thomas once again showed how crucial he will be to how far the Perth Wildcats go this season putting in a dominant performance in Cairns on Tuesday night in his team's 105-83 victory.

Both the Taipans and Wildcats came into the contest at Cairns Convention on three-game winning runs, but it was the visitors who started strongly on the top of Thomas taking control of his match up with Cairns star, and MVP candidate, Keanu Pinder.

Not only did Thomas get on top of the match up, but also got Pinder in foul trouble and by early in the third quarter the Wildcats were well in control leading by 18 points.

While the Taipans had their best patch of the evening scoring the next 14 points to make it a four-point ball game, the Wildcats responded to still be up 14 by three quarter-time.

With that lead again out to as much as 23 in the fourth before Perth went on to win by 22 to make it four in-a-row this season with a 9-7 record.

While Bryce Cotton top-scored for Perth with 24 points on 5/9 three-point shooting, the help he received was crucial.

Thomas was tremendous with 22 points, 12 rebounds and six assists. His work on the glass including seven offensive rebounds helped his team win the boards battle too.

Michael Harris put up a career-best 17 points with 3/5 from deep as well for the Wildcats with Luke Travers contributing 14 points and four rebounds, and Brady Manek 11 points and five assists.

Wildcats coach John Rillie was pleased with plenty about the performance.

"We're slowly coming together as a team," Rillie said.

"When we weren’t playing great, we didn’t have multiple contributors on a night and that's not just always in the points column. We're probably on this four-game stretch we're on right now with having great contributors.

"Tonight is probably the deepest we've had in terms of contributors and what I talk about is the guy next to me (Thomas) had a hell of a game.

"Bryce Cotton had another Bryce Cotton game, but then you've got Norton coming off the bench, Wagstaff showing a great defensive presence on the defensive end and you've got Michael Harris out there doing his thing at the offensive end. The game is rewarded when you play it the right way."

The Wildcats now get to enjoy Christmas before being back on the road to play the Brisbane Bullets next Tuesday.

IMAGE: Getty Images


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