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Perth Wildcats unleash on Hawks in NBL

Perth's amazing streak of NBL finals appearances looks certain to stretch to at least 33 seasons after they notched up their 16th victory of the season.

Perth Wildcats unleash on Hawks in NBL

Perth's amazing streak of NBL finals appearances looks certain to stretch to at least 33 seasons after they notched up their 16th victory of the season.

NICK KAY of the Hawks drives to the basket during the NBL match between the Brisbane Bullets and the Illawarra Hawks at Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre in Brisbane, Australia.
NICK KAY of the Hawks drives to the basket during the NBL match between the Brisbane Bullets and the Illawarra Hawks at Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre in Brisbane, Australia. Picture:Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images

The Perth Wildcats have become the first team to claim the 16 victories that historically guarantees an NBL finals appearance, with a 104-90 win over the Illawarra Hawks at RAC Arena.

The Cats recorded their biggest score of the season and their fourth straight victory as Nick Kay and Bryce Cotton again starred on Friday night


Kay finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds, while Cotton top-scored with 27 points and a career-high seven assists.

Terrico White also dropped 26 points.

The Wildcats were on fire offensively, but their defence lacked some polish.

Jordair Jett (19 points) and Brian Conklin (20 points and eight rebounds) had the Hawks trailing by just five points late in the final term.

Hawks coach Rob Beveridge was pleased with the way his young side performed.

"We really had a crack tonight. We didn't take care of the ball well enough - way too many turnovers (16). If we half those turnovers; rebound better, we win the game.

"And 29 free throws (for Perth) to our 12, when we play a power game. We get to the rim a lot.

"Although we pound inside and scored 50 points in the paint, we just didn't get the calls tonight."

Since the NBL became an eight-team competition in the 2009-10 season, no team with 16 wins has missed the playoffs.

So, Perth's amazing streak of finals appearances looks certain to stretch to at least 33 seasons.

They are in a fight for a top-two finish, with both Melbourne United and the Sydney Kings also winning their respective games on Friday night, claiming their 15th victories.

The Wildcats have three regular-season games remaining, while the Kings have four and United, five.

Perth equalled their best start for the season with 36 points in the opening quarter; and the 60 points they had at the main break was also their best.

Perth coach Trevor Gleeson was happy with the way his side fought off a side pushing for a top-four place.

"It's always hard to play a team that is still fighting for a chance and they played great," he said.

"They played aggressive, attacking basketball and we had a hard time stopping them.

"You have to find different ways to win and we did that tonight."

Perth can go a big way towards claiming that top-two spot if they can beat the Sydney Kings in Perth next weekend. The Hawks will host Cairns on Monday.

AAP


AAP




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