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Wildcats beat Bullets, extend NBL win run

A dominant third-quarter performance has propelled the Perth Wildcats toward the top of the NBL ladder with a 95-83 win at the Brisbane Bullets.

The Wildcats (12-6) outscored their hosts 26-8 in a dominant third term to overturn a five-point deficit at the main break, before holding off a valiant comeback by the Bullets (7-12) to prevail by 12 points.

Reigning MVP Bryce Cotton was unstoppable from all areas of the floor as he capitalised on woeful shooting from the Bullets to give his side a 13-point buffer heading into the final term.

Brisbane, to their credit, fought hard and narrowed the deficit to just five points early in the fourth, but Perth’s championship pedigree shone through as they closed out a fourth successive win for the first time this season.

In what was a truly horrific third quarter for the Bullets, they managed just 3-of-20 from the field as the Nissan Arena crowd sat stunned in silence.

Their fightback in the final term brought the crowd back into the contest but Perth held firm.

Cotton registered 22 points with five rebounds and three assists while fellow Perth star Vic Law maintained his stellar NBL form with 24 points on 66 per cent shooting against his former side.

The Wildcats, playing in their 13th straight away game will finish the season with a nine-game home stand after their next outing against the New Zealand Breakers on Monday.

“I was really happy with the third quarter, that was probably one of our better defensive quarters of the season,” Wildcats coach Scott Morrison said.

“Unfortunately we needed that to get back in the game.

“I probably didn’t have to say anything at halftime as they (the players) would’ve come out stronger than they did, but obviously credit to Brisbane for putting a beating on us in that first half.”

Brisbane coach James Duncan said his side fell into a trap in the third quarter of trying to force shots as Perth started the second half with four straight defensive stops.

“They cranked up their defence a little bit but it’s nothing new from some of the other teams that we played, we just didn’t handle it the right way during that stretch,” he said.

“We had 54 points in the paint and we went to the free throw line 11 times. They had 44 points in the paint and they went to the free throw line 27 times.

“That’s something that obviously that we can’t control, but I’m going to continue to tell our guys attack the rim, get on the rim, and then hopefully something positive will be happening in the next game and the games after that.”

Second-placed Perth only trail leaders Melbourne United while Brisbane are seventh.

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