Wildcats back on winners list
Perth proved that class is permanent and form is temporary, overcoming a five point three quarter time deficit to beat the Brisbane Bullets 102-90 at Nissan Arena on Saturday.
The Wildcats produced a 41 point final quarter, the highest scoring final quarter of the NBL season to outlast a Bullets side that themselves had turned a ten point first change deficit in to a three quarter time lead, only to run out of puff with stars Jason Cadee and Lamar Patterson fouled out late in the contest.
Todd Blanchfield had 31 points and seven rebounds to lead Perth to their fourth win in six games and an overall 21-8 record, trailing only ladder leaders Melbourne United (23-6).
Reigning NBL MVP Bryce Cotton turned around a cold 2-11 shooting effort early to also inspire the Wildcats with 24 points (9-of-20 field goal shooting) while Mitch Norton had 24 points and eight rebounds.
The Bullets crashed back to earth following Thursday night's season-high 23-point win over Sydney Kings with a loss that will hurt their top four chances.
The sixth-place Brisbane (13-15) had won three of their last four games and were backing themselves on Saturday to equal fourth-place Illawarra Hawks on 14 wins with eight games left.
But the Bullets couldn't get it done despite a second quarter resurgence and contributions from Nathan Sobey (24 points) and bench veteran Jason Cadee (14 points).
The loss put a dampener on the evening for Brisbane who held a ceremony for two-time championship winner and Seoul Olympian Sibley who played 305 games for the Bullets to trail only fellow club legend Leroy Loggins (513).
The only other Bullets players to have singlets retired are Loggins (No.30), Ron Radliff (No.22) and Larry Sengstock (No.7).
"It was quite a surprise, quite an honour. To be put up there in the same company as those players is unbelievable," Sibley said.
Perth centre Will Magnay had two points and four rebounds in 15 minutes in his first game against his former club after earlier this month signing with the Wildcats for the rest of the season. He had become available following an NBA stint with the New Orleans Pelicans.
Perth held a 28-18 advantage at the first break before the Bullets outscored the visitors 26-17 in the second term to ensure only a one-point halftime deficit.
A Harry Froling three-pointer on the buzzer didn't count but Brisbane still held a five-point lead at the final interval before Perth launched a stunning final blitz.