The Perth Wildcats
have smashed the Cairns Taipans
85-66 to make it 10 wins and four losses at the half-way point of the iiNet NBL Championship season.
The game marked big man Matthew Knight
's (204-F/C-85, college: Loyola Mary
) return to the Wildcats line-up after spending five games on the sideline with a calf tear, and he didn't disappoint on return, scoring 13 points and pulling down seven rebounds.
The Wildcats start to the game went a long way to them securing the W', opening proceedings with a 10-0 run, and preventing the Taipans from scoring until half-way through the opening term.
Kevin Lisch was unstoppable for the Wildcats, playing one of his best games of the 2012/13 campaign, scoring a season high 26 points, as well as pulling down four rebounds, giving off two assists and picking up two steals. Jesse Wagstaff once again made a solid contribution with 15 points.
Despite the Wildcats fast start to the game, a few missed open looks allowed the Taipans to keep in touch and by the time the quarter came to an end the Wildcats only held a 16-9 advantage.
The tempo picked up in the second quarter as the game looked like it would turn into a three-point shoot-out with Kevin Lisch and Jesse Wagstaff knocking shots down from long range for the Wildcats.
The Taipans appeared to have enough answers to keep in touch with the Wildcats but the away team managed to get a small break on their opponents when Matt Knight reminded Cairns he was back with six straight points in the paint.
Kevin Lisch also showed why he is the league's reigning MVP in the first half, running rings around the Taipans and scoring 15 early points.
The Wildcats scored 33 points in second term, making it their highest scoring quarter so far this season, beating last week's 29-point first quarter effort against Sydney, and at the main break had a 49-37 lead.
The third quarter saw an even contest between the two-sides but the Wildcats did enough to keep their opponents at bay.
Scoring was coming from Redhage, Hire and Lisch, while Cam Tovey knocked down a three to reach the individual milestone of scoring 500 career points as a Perth Wildcat. The Cats 23-point quarter their equal highest third term for the season.
As the clock counted down, the game was well and truly in the Wildcats' grasp and the lead only continued to grow. The final margin a big 19-point win for Perth.
Wildcats star Kevin Lisch put on a clinic and was thrilled to see his team play so well.
'Cairns is always tough, at their place, I don't care what the record says, so it's a good win for us,' said Lisch.
'I think we are doing a better job at spacing and moving the ball, but at the same time in the second quarter we let them get too many baskets, but it was a good one.'
The MVP enjoyed having Knight back in the paint.
'He makes a big difference, it was good to see him back, I think he had jelly legs missing the one dunk, but it's great to have him back!'
Important for the Wildcats was once again their statistics on the glass, with 18 of their 39 rebounds pulled down on the offensive end.
Their defensive pressure was too much for the Taipans, causing 24 turnovers which led to 26 points, while only allowing Cairns to score seven from their own turnovers.