NBL 2014/15 Round 20: Adelaide storm past Wildcats into third spot

The Adelaide 36ers have cemented their playoff intentions with an authoritative 101-94 victory over the visiting Perth Wildcats. Led by Brock Motum's 25 points, the 36ers turned a halftime deficit into a comfortable win, again showing the league who the form team is.

Perth recieved solid contributions from big-man Matthew Knight who finished with 20 points and Jermaine Beal, who managed 23. The visitors scored enough points to win the game, but they struggled with their efficiency, as Adelaide shot better from inside and outside the arc and made an astonishing 28 free-throws (82%).

The loss for Perth does not look good for their playoff hopes, as they have not hit their stride in the past two months and continue to struggle to get solid bench production. Adelaide on the other hand, look unbeatable and will be looking to crush whoever the face in the opening round.

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The battle for third place started slowly for the 36ers who got behind by double digits early. Lead by Knight and his interior scoring (8 early points), it was Perth who showed the early hunger. As the game went on and Knight moved to the bench, the 36ers mounted a comeback as they were desperate to keep the game close. Motum kept them in touch with some lights-out shooting as they trailed by just one at the siren.

Up 20-19, Shawn Redhage used his veteran leadership to extend Perth's advantage by knocking down a three and pulling in 5 first quarter rebounds. Both teams went tit-for-tat for most of the quarter, highlighted by some crisp execution by Jamar Wilson and Mitch Creek for the 36ers. However, with just under three minutes to play in the first half, Jermaine Beal and DeAndre Daniels combined for eight points to put the Wildcats up by the same margin. Back to back treys from Adelaide reserve Peter Crawford kept the score respectable going into the break as the visitors led 51-48.

With Daniel Johnson inserted into the starting lineup to start the second half, the 36ers tied the game at 55 on the back of his interior contributions. Johnson, Creek and Wilson continued to carry the home team as they surged into the lead shooting 51% compared to Perth's 39%. As the Wildcats continued to jack-up poor shots, the 36ers proceeded to place one hand on third place as their lead extended to three heading into the fourth quarter.

A three-pointer by Motum and another close range shot from Creek brought the lead out to seven as the Wildcats just couldn't get the ball in the basket. The visitors who have struggled on the offensive end lately, began to run out of puff and Motum made them pay again with his fourth three. With the lead entering double figures on Motum's fifth, the pizzazz was sucked out of Perth and the game looked over. Beal had other plans, attempting to carry the team with his deft shooting and traded long range bombs with Motum, who hit his sixth.

The Wildcats fought to the end but could not keep up with Adelaide's 60% shooting from behind the arc. Big time teams need big time players and for Perth tonight, their import DeAndre Daniels, failed to fire. He finished with a meager 8 points. The Wildcats will look to close out their season on a positive note on Sunday against Townsville.

Perth Wildcats 94 (Beal 23, Knight 20, Redhage 17)

Adelaide 36ers 101 (Motum 25, Wilson 25, Creek 17)