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Perth Wildcats must ease import burden, says Damian Martin

The Perth Wildcats must ease the pressure on import Terrico White if Bryce Cotton doesn’t prove his fitness for tomorrow’s game against Cairns, according to captain Damian Martin.

The Wildcats struggled to score without Cotton during their 77-72 loss to Sydney on Thursday night. They managed only 33 points in the first half and their final tally was 22 points fewer than their average for the season.

White and Nick Kay were the team’s equal top scorers with 17 points each, but the import shot at only 29 per cent and converted just two of his 11 three-point attempts.

Perth are hopeful that Cotton will be cleared to return from his thumb injury to face the Taipans.

The Wildcats aren’t expected to be troubled by the bottom-placed Taipans even if Cotton is ruled out, but Martin said the ladder leaders made it too hard for White to get quality shots on Thursday, which needed to change.

“We put too much pressure on Terrico,” Martin said.

“Sometimes we were just giving him the ball and expecting him to go and create, which isn’t fair to him and nor is it how we want to play as a team.

Terrico White had a big offensive role against Sydney.Terrico White had a big offensive role against Sydney.
Camera IconTerrico White had a big offensive role against Sydney.Picture: Getty Images

“It’s about each of us doing the small things within the offensive structure and if it ends up that Terrico shoots the ball, fantastic. But we’ve got to execute for the first 15-20 seconds first and foremost before getting a shot that we want.

“I thought that we settled for looks that weren’t fantastic and put Terrico under way too much pressure.”

Wildcats coach Trevor Gleeson yesterday accepted a $500 fine for pushing Sydney star Andrew Bogut.

The NBL reacted to the clash, which occurred late in Thursday night’s match, by fining Gleeson for breaching the league’s code of conduct.

The incident happened when Bogut attempted to listen to the conversation between Gleeson and his players during a delay in play.

Gleeson said he would accept the fine, but felt it wasn’t a big issue.

“You take the hit and move on,” Gleeson said. “I was just trying to make a play for our guys out on the court and it was more to say ‘stay away Boges’.

“Thirty seconds later we saw each other, we laughed, we embraced like mates do, so I didn’t think much of it at all. But obviously if it’s overstepped the mark, I’ll take the hit and we move on.”

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