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Big NBL wins for Taipans, Wildcats

By Chris Pike
18 January 2014 01:19AM EST

THE Perth Wildcats beat the New Zealand Breakers for a fourth time this NBL season already while the Sydney Kings downed the Cairns Taipans to consolidate fourth spot on Friday night.

Round 14 of the NBL began on Friday night at the Cairns Convention Centre with Sydney recording an impressive 92-88 road victory over the Taipans to improve to a 7-8 record on the season to maintain a hold on fourth position on the ladder.

The action then headed to Perth and with 13,206 fans watching on at the Perth Arena, the Wildcats thumped the three-time defending champion Breakers 97-72 to extend their lead atop of the NBL ladder after 18 games with an impressive 15-3 record.

Cairns and Sydney are two teams fighting over fourth position with Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne looking safe in the top-three spots, so it was always going to be an enthralling battle in Cairns on Friday night.

It was a tight opening quarter to start the game until Cairns finished the first period with the last five points to end it leading 24-18.

The Taipans then threatened to break the game open during the second quarter leading by as much as 12 points, but the Kings did enough to stay in touch with Cairns leading 43-35 at the main break.

Cairns again stretched its lead back out to double-figures early in the third quarter, but Sydney refused to go away and with NBA-experienced import Sam Young leading the way, the Kings hit 31 points in the third period and by three quarter-time the scores were all tied up at 66 apiece.

Again, the Taipans threatened to head out to a handy lead with a four-point advantage on several occasions during the fourth quarter, but a Cody Ellis three with two minutes to go saw Sydney tie the scores up again at 80.

Forty seconds later he nailed a second to put Sydney up 83-82 before Young hit the Kings' next six points.

When veteran James Harvey nailed a basket the Kings led by five with 19 seconds remaining and they went on to win the game by four.

Young was the star of the night for Sydney finishing with 31 points on 11-of-21 shooting from the field.

Centre AJ Ogilvy was also terrific for the Kings with 19 points, 10 rebounds and three assists while shooting an efficient 7-of-9 from the floor.

Sydney's second import Charles Carmouche scored 11 points with Tom Garlepp adding eight to go with his six rebounds.

Jamar Wilson led the way for the Taipans with 20 points with Cameron Gliddon adding 18 points, Matt Burston 13 and Alex Loughton 12.

The Wildcats and Breakers have had the hottest rivalry in the NBL the last four years having met in two grand finals and a semi-final series, and while Perth winning all four regular season games doesn’t make up for losing when it mattered most, they have been emphatic results.

Coming into Friday night's clash at the Perth Arena, the Wildcats had beaten the Breakers by seven and nine points in Auckland, and then by just four in the first clash in Perth back on December 6.

The Wildcats then put their stamp on the Breakers team of 2013/14 with a 25-point thumping on Friday night to stretch their lead atop the table, while also putting a dent in New Zealand's playoff hopes.

The Breakers now sit on just a 6-11 record to have one less win than the fourth-placed Kings and three more losses than Sydney

While Perth will be happy to have beaten New Zealand on all four meetings this season, it scarcely makes up for losing in the semi finals to them in 2011, and then in three games of the grand final series in 2012 and then in two games of a grand final series in 2013.

The Wildcats were never seriously challenged whatsoever on Friday night by the Breakers though.

The home team raced out to a 27-11 lead late in the first quarter and still led by 13 points by quarter-time, and the Breakers never came close to even bringing the deficit back to under double-digits for the rest of the evening.

The Wildcats went on to lead by 20 points at half-time and then win by 25 at the finish.

Veteran Shawn Redhage led the way for the Wildcats finishing the game with 24 points and six rebounds on the back of 8-of-12 shooting from the field.

Import guard Jermaine Beal added 19 points, six rebounds and four assists while hitting 3-of-5 from three-point territory with star import swingman James Ennis scoring a season-low 15 points on 5-of-16 shooting from the floor and 0-of-5 from three-point range.

Jesse Wagstaff also added 13 points and four rebounds for Perth with captain Damian Martin finishing with 12 points, five assists, four rebounds and three steals.

Gary Wilkinson top-scored for New Zealand with 21 points and six rebounds while hitting 3-of-6 from downtown.

Veteran hard man Mika Vukona was their workhorse all night, though, before fouling out late with 10 points, seven rebounds and three assists.

Point guard Kerron Johnson finished with 12 points, five rebounds and four assists for the Breakers but star swingman Tom Abercrombie had a night to forget shooting just 1-of-8 from the floor for three points before fouling out early in the final quarter.

Round 14 of the NBL continues on Saturday night with the Adelaide 36ers hosting the Townsville Crocodiles before on Sunday, the Sydney Kings host the Melbourne Tigers and the Wollongong Hawks take on the Cairns Taipans.

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