Wildcats blow away Kings
The Perth Wildcats showed their class once again in a second half blitz against the Sydney Kings, winning by24 points at Qudos Bank Arena on Sunday.
Wildcats star Bryce Cotton has continued his dominance over the Kings after producing a 29-point masterclass in a brutal 89-65 beatdown.
The architect of last season's finals series triumph, Cotton was near unstoppable in posting an eighth straight game of at least 27 points against the purple-and-gold in their past eight meetings.
This latest effort for the league's leading scorer pushed his average against the Kings to 31 points since the start of last season.
Cotton had plenty of help, with rookie forward John Mooney adding a 13-point, 17-rebound double-double, and guard Luke Travers going a perfect 6-6 from the field for 16 points off the bench.
The win, which also marked Todd Blanchfield's 300th game in the league, was the ladder leader's seventh straight as their continue to steam towards another title shot.
The only question is whether Perth will consider bringing in another import once Cotton gains Australian citizenship, which could lead to Boomers selection at the Tokyo Games.
"We gotta cross that bridge when we come to it. We thought going into this season that Bryce would already have it," coach Trevor Gleeson said. "We don't know what's going to happen. Hopefully he does (become a citizen), that he can play for Australia at the Olympics. We're second on the totem pole at that."
Meanwhile, the Kings, who were again manhandled 19-7 on the offensive glass, drop back to fifth on the ladder and will again be left wondering how they close the gap on their cross-country nemesis.
"If I'm being honest, I think there is a gap. We're not a very good rebounding team. I don't know how else to express that," Sydney Kings coach Adam Forde said. "This is the final piece. Everything is fitting in nicely, but we're so far off the back from where we need to be as a rebounding team.
"And this is the difference right now between winning and losing. I feel like it's as black and white as that."
Cotton and the Wildcats even gave the Kings a head start, missing his opening seven looks from distance as the home side held a three-point lead midway through the third quarter.
However the American caught fire soon after, connecting on three straight long-bombs to kick-start a 35-6 run that rendered the Kings defence powerless the rest of the contest.
Kings import Jarrell Martin was his side's best avenue to points for most of the afternoon, racking up 18 points on 7-11 shooting.
But his teammates struggled to back him up, with star Casper Ware failing to hit his first field goal until the final minute of the first half before finishing with six points on 2-10 shooting.
Perth return home to play the New Zealand Breakers on Thursday night, while Sydney's next clash is also on Thursday against Illawarra.
IMAGE: The West Australian.