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How the mighty stood and the flighty fell


WELL, that sure was  a lot easier than we expected, home teams Perth and Melbourne whipping Brisbane and Sydney respectively by a combined 52 points in Game 1s of their NBL semi final series.

At this rate, neither series will go to three games unless the Kings and Bullets find their very best in a hurry.

Brisbane will have almost no time to address its second half fadeout in Perth before confronting those same Wildcats tomorrow afternoon.

In MELBOURNE, United stormed away from a disconsolate Sydney outfit after a 24-24 first quarter suggested a huge contest to come.

Casper Ware opened the game with an immediate 3-pointer, then added two more before Kevin Lisch and Brad Newley hit back with triples of their own.

Andrew Bogut was looking good inside as the 3-point barrage continued from both teams in a highly-engrossing opening.

Unfortunately for Kings fans, there was a second quarter. And a third. And a fourth.

The second was a 28-11 United blitz as Chris Goulding grabbed a piece of the action and Josh Boone became the bigger keyway presence, the Kings stumbling for answers.

DJ Kennedy’s 20 points came at 60 percent with six rebounds and Mitch McCarron also again was a big factor at both ends of the floor.

Newley and Lisch fought the good fight but Jerome Randle (13 points on 5-of-13 shooting, one assist) was well beaten by Ware’s returns of 22 points at 50 percent, and seven assists.

Boone (14 points at 75 percent, 7 boards, 4 assists) again proved to be kryptonite for Bogut (7 points at 50 percent, 7 rebounds, one assist) as Melbourne flexed its championship muscles and kicked sand into the Kings faces.

SEMI FINAL (2v3)
Game 1: MELBOURNE UNITED 95
(Ware 22, Kennedy 20, Goulding 17, McCarron 15, Boone 14; Boone 7 rebs; Ware 7 assts) d SYDNEY KINGS 73 (Newley 17, Lisch, Randle 13; Bogut 7 rebs; Bowen, Newley, Lisch 3 assts) at Melbourne Arena.
Game 2: Sunday, 2.20pm (local), Qudos Bank Arena.
Game 3 (If required): Tuesday, 7.50pm (local) Melbourne Arena.

CAM Gliddon was looking good early in PERTH but after halftime, the Wildcats absolutely turned the Bullets into blanks, if not just caps to be hammered.

The number of disappearing acts on the Brisbane team would have made Houdini blush as Perth uncorked a 48-19 second half!

Wait. It gets worse for Bullets fans.

It was a 30-15 third period to the Wildcats, then Brisbane scored four points in the final quarter. Four.

That is the lowest fourth quarter score in NBL history and precisely the type of history Brisbane was trying to avoid.

Perth’s 30-point rout was the club’s fourth biggest win in its playoff history, and it has been playing finals for 33 years straight now. That's a lot of finals.

Terrico White stuck five 3-pointers and had no turnovers, another first for a Wildcat in his playoff debut.

Brisbane was listless and defenceless in the wake of the Perth onslaught, led by Bryce Cotton (22 points, 13-of-16 from the free throw line) and shot the ball at 36 percent, 23 from three and 47 from the stripe.

While Andrej Lemanis at Brisbane and Andrew Gaze at Sydney will be imploring their men to recognise they only trail 0-1, winning Game 2s will be a serious challenge. Getting it to three games and winning on the road would take something not very much shy of a miracle.

SEMI FINAL (1v4)
Game 1
: PERTH WILDCATS 89 (Cotton 22, White 19, Kay 18, Brandt 12; Kay 10 rebs; Cotton 6 assts) d BRISBANE BULLETS 59 (Gliddon 18, Hodgson 10; Hodgson 7 rebs; Patterson 6 assts) at RAC Arena.
Game 2: Saturday, 1.50 (local), Brisbane Entertainment Centre.
Game 3 (If required): Monday, RAC Arena.

Mar 1

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