The Sunday NBL double-header began at the Adelaide Arena with the 36ers beating the Sydney Kings 82-64 to end a winless run that stretched over eight games and dated way back to a November 16 win over the Wildcats at the Perth Arena.
Pressure had been mounting on Adelaide as they slumped to a 5-11 record, but they put in a dominant performance at home to the third-placed Kings on Sunday at both ends of the floor.
Despite losing centre Luke Schenscher to a nasty fall in the first half, fellow big man Daniel Johnson came up big with 24 points and seven rebounds. Jason Cadee also scored 13 points, Stephen Weigh 11 and Anthony Petrie 11.
Adelaide coach Marty Clarke was a relieved man after the game.
"Every win is exciting, it doesn’t matter what has gone before it. The key to being a professional at anything you do is that if you allow other people's perceptions to interfere with what you are doing at the time, you are going to fail," Clarke said.
"This group hasn’t done that. They have stuck together and we've some great guys in the group. Petrie, Gibson and Crossy in particular who have made sure the group has stuck together."
The Kings have now lost three of their last four games to slip to 10-8, but remain in third spot with 10 games of their season to go. Point guard Corin Henry top-scored with 15 points with Ben Madgen scoring 12 but shooting just 6-of-20 from the field.
It was then onto the Perth Arena where the Wildcats were playing for the first time since December 14 with the venue unavailable due to the hosting of the Hopman Cup.
The Tigers started strongly racing to a 7-0 lead, but Shawn Redhage turned the momentum the Wildcats' way with eight points in the first quarter and by three quarter-time the 'Cats had raced out to a 29-point advantage.
Even though Melbourne outscored the Wildcats 21 to seven in the last quarter, the damage had been done and according Anstey, a lot of the momentum the 'Cats had was due to some help from the refereeing.
Anstey was livid at unsportsmanlike calls being made against Matt Burston, Chris Goulding and Nate Tomlinson in incidents that he believed were in retaliation to first contact being made from Wildcat players.
The former Tigers championship-winning centre, Boomers and NBA big man did not hold back after the game letting his thoughts known on the refereeing and the impact they had on the game.
"I didn’t think they (the referees) lost control, I thought they handed the Wildcats control. They had absolute control and gave it straight to the Wildcats," Anstey said.
"The momentum changed when we got crucified by the tech fouls when we thought there were plenty there that should have gone both ways. It was just so inconsistent. I thought the call on Matty Burston swung the game.
"It was our ball after Redhage had stepped out of bounds, but they called an unsportsmanlike foul to give them two shots and possession. At the time we were up five and it was our ball, but the next thing we know they made their two and scored again, and it was a tied game."
Anstey continued on by saying that he felt the referees were intimidated into not making calls against the referees in front of their 12,336 home fans and the most disappointing thing from his perspective was that his players were called after always being the retaliator, not the instigator.
"I think they get intimidated by the crowd here and that's another thing that adds to being at a tough venue. They are human. I thought there were plenty of situations where we could have got an unsportsmanlike or a flopping call, but it's pretty hard to call in front 13,500 of the loudest fans," Anstey said.
"It's amazing how one call can change a game and I'm sick and tired of referees calling retaliatory fouls. They miss cheap shots and call the guy who retaliates.
"We do have to be more disciplined than that, but we started well against a very good team and gave them a sniff because they were put on the free-throw line after the refs saw the second part and not the first."
The win for the Wildcats sees them maintain pace at the top of the table with the New Zealand Breakers, but coach Rob Beveridge won't let his team off the hook for a poor last period.
"We absolutely smothered them defensively and it was one of the best performances of defence you will see and we locked them down so much that they could do nothing," Beveridge said.
"It was an incredible performance of defence and we held them to 37 points for three quarters of the game, but then we completely shut up shot. Everybody just stopped playing and from that I'm extremely disappointed. The guys should be as well particularly the senior players in the team who let that slip away like that. To get outscored in that final quarter 21 to seven is pretty disappointing."