Wildcats stunned by Bullets
The Perth Wildcats have squandered an 18 point second quarter lead in what was their fourth game in seven days, suffering a 91-88 defeat to Brisbane at Nissan Arena on Wednesday night.
The win was the biggest comeback in Andrej Lemanis' coaching tenure at Brisbane, keeping their finals hopes alive with the result.
The Wildcats at first did not appear troubled without one of their stars of the weekend romp after losing Todd Blanchfield for Wednesday's clash at Nissan Arena with a knee complaint.
They dropped their highest first quarter total of the season to lead 33-19 at the opening break before enjoying a 53-39 halftime buffer. They led 73-65 at the final interval.
However, Bullets import Lamar Patterson stood tall on his way to a personal tally of 23 points, locking up the scores at 87-87 with 27 seconds left.
Having fouled out late in Saturday's contest between the sides, Patterson went on an 11-0 run before his lay-up gave the hosts an unlikely 89-88 lead with 8.5 seconds on the clock.
Perth still had time to respond but Kevin White inexplicably opted for a three-pointer early on the shot clock and missed badly before Brisbane import BJ Johnson was fouled and iced the result with two free throws.
The Bullets had never come back from an 18-point deficit under Lemanis, who has held the reins since 2016 and will leave at season's end to coach in the Japanese league.
It was just the boost Brisbane needed as they try to seal a top-four finish on a congested ladder.
"It was a gutsy win. If it was ever going to happen (keep finals hopes alive) tonight was the night," Lemanis said. "We hung in there and kept believing."
The Wildcats had already sealed a finals berth - marking a remarkable 35th straight season in the playoffs - but their minor premiership hopes have taken a hit at 22-9 behind ladder-leaders Melbourne United (24-7).
"The game was there to be won but we didn't step up to the plate - Brisbane wanted it more," Perth coach Trevor Gleeson said.
The tough stretch continues for Perth, backing up to play Cairns at home on Friday night.
IMAGE: The Area News.