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Perth sweep Cairns, advance to Grand Final

Monday February 20, 2017 by  

The career of the great Mark Worthington is over and the Cairns Taipans have to wait another year for that elusive championship after the Perth Wildcats advanced to the NBL Grand Final with a 74-66 win at Perth Arena on Monday.

Perth claimed Game 2 of the NBL semi-final series by eight points after winning the opener in Cairns 91-69 on Friday.

The Taipans came out a vastly different outfit in enemy territory and put in a strong showing defensively, but offensive execution cruelled them as they posted their third-lowest score of the season. Read more

Cotton masterclass destroys Taipans

Friday February 17, 2017 by  

He may not have been with the group for long, but Bryce Cotton showed he has Wildcat genes with a 34-point masterclass as Perth ambushed the Snakes to take Game 1 of their semi-final series 91-69 on Friday.

After going a scintillating 5/5 from downtown in his only other visit to the Cairns Convention Centre, Cotton had his deadly jumpshot on full display again to rain on Cairns’ parade and declare their championship prospects are as good as any.

The Snakes, winners of six of their past seven games coming into the night, were simply shell-shocked by American stars Cotton – who scored the most points by a Wildcat in a finals game since 2008 – and Casey Prather (22 points), who was near unstoppable in the pick-and-roll. Read more

Randle walks the walk for the Sixers

Thursday February 16, 2017 by  

Newly crowned NBL Most Valuable Player Jerome Randle put the Adelaide 36ers team on his back with 18 first-half points as the Sixers outgunned the visiting Illawarra Hawks 93-78 in Game 1 of their Semi Final series.

Randle needed to put forward his best after calling the Hawks a “dirty team” that he “didn’t like playing” against mid-week. He certainly rose to the occasion, bringing some of his Chicago A-game.

Such was his energy expenditure that he violently cramped up at the start of the fourth term, only to return at the midpoint and deal some final damage. Read more

Wright named the NBL’s Coach of the Year

Monday February 13, 2017 by  

The Adelaide 36ers’ Joey Wright is the recipient of the Lindsay Gaze Trophy as the 2016-17 National Basketball League Coach of the Year.

Wright becomes just the second 36ers coach to win the Award, joining Ken Cole who was honoured in 1986.

He also becomes only the third coach to win the award three times, joining Brian Goorjian (6) and Lindsay Gaze (3). Wright previously received Coach of the Year honours in 2004 and 2007 while leading the Brisbane Bullets. Read more

Randle named the NBL’s MVP

Monday February 13, 2017 by  

The Adelaide 36ers’ Jerome Randle, who finished top three in both scoring and assists, has won the 2016-17 National Basketball League Most Valuable Player Award.

Randle becomes just the second 36ers player to be named MVP, joining Mark Davis who was honoured in 1987. Randle received a total of 143 votes to win the Award.

The Perth Wildcats’ Casey Prather finished second with 107 votes and the Sydney Kings’ Kevin Lisch was third with 82 votes. The Illawarra Hawks’ Rotnei Clarke (76 votes) and Melbourne United’s Casper Ware (74 votes) rounded out the top five. Read more

Brilliant Prather takes ‘Cats to post-season

Sunday February 12, 2017 by  

Perth Wildcats had the wrong side of history staring them in the face against Melbourne United on Sunday before a supreme fourth-quarter performance made sure of their 31st consecutive NBL Finals appearance.

It was finals or burst for the Wildcats in the final game of the regular season and Casper Ware’s four points early in the final term had the scores tied and Perth looking in trouble.

But the visitors lifted as Casey Prather – who may have played his best ever NBL game – scored a road career-high 26 points and dished a career-high 11 assists, making several contested shots down the stretch. Read more

Taipans stun Sixers to cement second spot

Saturday February 11, 2017 by  

Behind an NBL legend, the Cairns Taipans became a team possessed in the second half, handing Adelaide their fourth straight loss, 89-98 at Titanium Security Arena.

Mark Worthington had one heck of a final quarter in his last regular NBL season game after a stirring video tribute prior to tip-off.

The ageless veteran collected two steals, a block, a charge and back-to-back clutch triples before affording himself a wry smile as he jetted his team to guaranteed home-court advantage in their semi-final. Read more

Hawks lock in playoff spot with Bullets beatdown

Saturday February 11, 2017 by  

The Illawarra Hawks became the third team to cement a spot in the finals with Saturday night’s 106-79 rout of the Brisbane Bullets at WIN Entertainment Centre.

Depending on results of remaining games, the Hawks will finish either second, third or fourth with a 15-13 record.

The Bullets had little to play for and finished their comeback season to the NBL with a 10-18 record. Read more

Prather finds form, ‘Cats end Kings season

Friday February 10, 2017 by  

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. Read more

Breakers collective steps up in Vukona absence

Friday February 10, 2017 by  

New Zealand have turned in a performance that will be written in Breakers folklore, keeping their faint finals hopes alive with an 88-70 domination of Melbourne United.

Do-or-die type games have come multiple times for the Breakers this season, and in every instance the proud Kiwi club has stepped up to the mark.

This time they had to do it without their chief hardman and spiritual leader of almost 15 years Mika Vukona, who was in hospital with a knee infection at the time of the game. Read more