Prather finds form, ‘Cats end Kings season
The Perth Wildcats have ended the Sydney Kings’ National Basketball League Finals hopes proving too strong at Perth Arena, keeping their own playoff dream alive with a 101-74 win on Friday night.
The Wildcats still need to wait to see what happens in Saturday night’s two fixtures and beat Melbourne United at Hisense Arena on Sunday for a 31st successive Finals appearance.
But for the Kings, a season that promised so much under coach Andrew Gaze and stars including Kevin Lisch, Brad Newley and Josh Powell is over.
Sydney also remains winless in Perth in 13 attempts since returning to the NBL.
Bryce Cotton and Casey Prather were unstoppable for the Wildcats.
Prather was back to his early season form with 29 points, six assists, four rebounds and two steals. Cotton added 21 points, four boards and three assists.
There were plenty more strong Wildcats contributors with Shawn Redhage adding 11 points, Damian Martin 10, Jesse Wagstaff eight and Jameel McKay seven to go with six rebounds and three assists.
It was tough going for the Kings with Brad Newley top-scoring with 19 points, Jason Cadee adding 15 points and Greg Whittington 13 to go with eight rebounds before being ejected midway through the third quarter following his second technical foul.
The Kings came out of the blocks with a purpose with the opening seven points – five from Cadee. But it wouldn’t last and by the time Martin hit a three, Perth led 12-10.
A couple more Cadee triples and Sydney briefly regained the lead before the Wildcats ended the first term on an 11-2 run to lead 29-24.
The Kings did get back to within one early in the second quarter but the Wildcats were doing it too easy offensively.
Seven points to Wagstaff as part of a 10-0 run put the home team well on top.
When Cotton was allowed to cruise to the basket on the buzzer with Lisch getting no help on defence, the ‘Cats were well on top, up by 14 at the half.
Perth Wildcats 101 (Prather 29, Cotton 21, Redhage 11)
Sydney Kings 74 (Newley 19, Cadee 15, Whittington 13)
News Source: NBL Media