NBL 2014/15 Round 17: Knight's return lifts 'Cats over Kings
The surprise return from Wildcats centre Matt Knight has lifted his Perth side to an 80-61 home victory over the Sydney Kings.
Knight, who had missed the past six weeks thanks to a broken toe, entered the game off the bench and immediately had an impact.
His dominant offensive post game, which, in-turn created open looks for others, proved his importance to the team.
With 12 points and nine rebounds in just under 20 minutes, Knight's impact brought about a huge lift from a recently depleted 'Cats outfit.
Head Coach Trevor Gleeson was very pleased about having Knight back on the court:
"We've missed that muscle inside, that toughness...it gives the guys confidence. He's a great teammate." - Trevor Gleeson post-game
The Wildcats cruised throughout the day, victorious during every quarter. Perth spread the scoring load as well, with captain Damian Martin (7 rebounds, 4 assists) leading the team in that category with just the 13 points.
For the Kings, their first game without star import Josh Childress after going down with another injury didn't go to plan. Having to heavily rely on both Ben Madgen (15 points) and Tom Garlepp (17 points), the Kings couldn't execute on the offensive end.
The first quarter was a hotly contested one as the lead didn't extend past four, with both sides finding it hard to get easy points with the focus firmly on the defensive end.
Perth then gained the ascendancy early in the second term, before making another push late in the same quarter. Back to back buckets from Knight stretched the lead to seven with three minutes to play in the opening half, which was later followed up by a DeAndre Daniels (9 points, 12 rebounds) three pointer to take the team into the break up nine.
It was another tight quarter jumping out from the main break, with Madgen having to step up on the offensive end to keep the Kings within touching distance, being behind 12 at the final change.
From there, the game blew out in the home side's favour, as their defensive pressure didn't let up for the forty minutes, even when Tom Jervis (12 points, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks) fouled out late in the game.
Perth Wildcats 80 (Martin 13, Knight 12, Jervis 12)
Sydney Kings 61 (Garlepp 17, Madgen 15, Ellis 9)
@ Perth Arena