The Wildcats ended up narrowly winning 83-80 at the Perth Arena in the first game in Australia of the new NBL season after it tipped off on Thursday in Auckland with the three-time defending champion New Zealand Breakers beating the Wollongong Hawks.
The Wildcats have lost the last two grand final series' to the Breakers and made mass changes over the off-season with coach Rob Beveridge and star import Kevin Lisch among those to be moved on.
Former Townsville and Melbourne coach Trevor Gleeson has arrived to replace Beveridge and Ennis has been allowed by the NBA champion Miami Heat to play with the Wildcats for the 2013/14 season and he showed just how good of a pick up he will be on Friday night.
While Ennis didn’t get to show off his full array of athleticism with just the one dunk for the game, he finished with a team-high 25 points on the back of a super impressive 4-of-7 from three-point territory. He also had four rebounds, two assists and a massive block on Gary Ervin.
While Ennis was certainly impressive and excited the more than 10,000 fans at the Perth Arena, and even though the Wildcats won the game by three points, there was perhaps even more for Adelaide to like in its loss.
The 36ers, under new coach Joey Wright, were without captain and Australian guard Adam Gibson as well as new import Jarrid Frye, and still only lost to one of the title favourites by three points and had plenty of opportunities to win the game.
Adelaide's big men dominated inside with Perth without its star big man Matt Knight and Daniel Johnson again put the Wildcats to the sword with 28 points on the back 9-of-13 shooting from the field.
Luke Schenscher also added 13 points on 6-of-9 shooting with nine of his points coming in the last quarter after Wildcats centre Tom Jervis fouled out.
Boomers forward Anthony Petrie managed just four points for the Sixers but worked hard pulling in 10 rebounds and blocking two shots.
Adelaide point guard Ervin was on fire in the first half with 14 points, but Wildcats captain Damian Martin kept him scoreless after half-time even though the former league MVP still contributed seven assists, five rebounds, two steals and just the one turnover.
Mitch Creek also made an encouraging return after a ruptured Achilles for the 36ers scoring 10 points.
With Gibson to return and provide plenty of experience, poise, defensive prowess and some scoring ability plus Frye being an exciting and capable scoring swingman, there is plenty of improvement for the 36ers and plenty to suggest they will be a long way from a third straight wooden spoon.
Ennis might have been the star of the show for the Wildcats, but Jesse Wagstaff provided good punch off the bench with 15 points and seven rebounds and veteran forward Shawn Redhage had 11 points including the game-sealing shot in the dying seconds.
Ennis' fellow import Jermaine Beal had 11 points, seven rebounds and three assists despite shooting just 4-of-14 from the field. Greg Hire had eight points and Drake U'u seven.
Despite Ennis hitting 10 first quarter points for the Wildcats, including a couple of three-pointers, Adelaide controlled the opening period of the contest with Johnson terrific inside and ending the quarter with nine points while the Creek added another five as the Sixers were three points up.
A quick burst to open the second quarter from debutant U'u with seven points and a three-point play from Hire saw the Wildcats draw level early in the period, but then Ervin caught fire for the Sixers with 10 points in just four minutes.
However, the Wildcats finished the half the better and went into the break leading 43-41.
Johnson came out on fire to open the second half for Adelaide scoring the half's first six points to put his team 47-43 up, and he scored his team's opening eight points of the half to have them still leading 49-47.
However, Ennis and Beal then took over for the 'Cats to see the home side lead 63-58 at three quarter-time.
With Jervis fouling out for Perth early in the last quarter as the 'Cats only genuine big, Johnson and Schenscher then kept Adelaide in the contest right throughout the final period.
But in the end two threes each to Beal and Wagstaff, a three-point play to Ennis and then a desperation shot in the dying stages to Redhage saw the Wildcats scrape home by three points.
Round 1 of the 2013/14 NBL season continues on Saturday with a Reptile Rumble between the Townsville Crocodiles and Cairns Taipans and then on Sunday, the Sydney Kings host the Melbourne Tigers at the Sydney Entertainment Centre.