Wildcats lose to Bullets in OT
The Perth Wildcats missed the chance to make it five straight wins and keep their momentum going with the Brisbane Bullets ending their own losing streak with the Tuesday night 97-93 overtime NBL victory.
The Wildcats came into the contest at Nissan Arena having won their past four matches to be in their best patch of form of the season as they took on a Bullets team in a degree of turmoil and having lost their past five games.
The Bullets were still chasing their first win under second interim coach Greg Vanderjagt who has stepped into the role after it was vacated by Sam Mackinnon, and after James Duncan was released.
Brisbane did regain key pair Tyler Johnson and Tanner Krebs for the clash but it loomed as the ideal chance for the Wildcats to keep their winning form going.
The 'Cats did open up their biggest lead of the game of nine points during the second quarter but the Bullets hit back and with the returning Krebs hitting a three going into half-time, they were leading 41-40.
Brisbane had increased its lead to 10 points by three quarter-time and that was out to 13 after five quick points to Nathan Sobey with five minutes left in the fourth.
Perth fired back with the next 11 points to get back within two on the back of a triple from Bryce Cotton. That set up a frantic finish with Johnson regain a four-point lead for the Bullets before a three-point play came in response for the 'Cats from TaShawn Thomas.
Corey Webster then put the Wildcats in front by a point which soon became a two-point lead thanks to Todd Blanchfield. The Bullets tied up the scores thanks to Krebs and then with Gorjok Gak's block on a potential game winner from Cotton, the game went to overtime.
In the extra period, the Bullets scored the first four points and would hold the Wildcats the rest of the way with Sobey icing the game at the foul line after an attempted drive and layup from Webster that would have tied the scores bounced out.
Bryce Cotton finished with 30 points, six assists, four rebounds and two steals for Perth with Corey Webster contributing 16 points, Luke Travers 15 (10 rebounds) and TaShawn Thomas 15 to go with six rebounds and three assists.
However, the Wildcats will be left to rue going 22/40 from the free-throw line and leaving those 18 points out there.
Nathan Sobey put up 30 points, nine assists and six rebounds in the win for the Bullets.
Wildcats coach John Rillie did note the free-throw misses post-match but just felt they couldn’t ever really get into a flow all night.
"I do think it does (free-throws makes a difference)," Rillie said.
"It kind of compounds as it happens. They are professional athletes, that is their craft - making free-throws in an environment like that.
"The second and third quarter we couldn’t get into the flow and rhythm of the game. We couldn’t create any momentum until the fourth quarter."
The Wildcats will remain on the road to take on the bottom placed Illawarra Hawks on New Year's Eve.
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