Basketball: Bullets, Wildcats collect NBL wins

Torrey Craig of the Bullets is challenged by Aleks Maric of the Kings. Photo / Getty Images
Torrey Craig of the Bullets is challenged by Aleks Maric of the Kings. Photo / Getty Images

The Brisbane Bullets ruined the Sydney Kings' season-opener and capped a perfect start to their own NBL campaign with a tense 77-73 win on Saturday night at Qudos Bank Arena.

Brisbane led at every change, surviving Sydney's fourth-quarter fightback to secure their second victory of the weekend.

Daniel Kickert led the Bullets with 17 points and Shaun Bruce and Tom Jervis added 12 apiece, while American forward Torrey Craig was a standout with nine points and 17 rebounds.

Guard Kevin Lisch topped the Kings' scoring with 20 points and forward Jeromie Hill had 14.

The Bullets beat titleholders Perth on Thursday night and are back with a bang in the NBL after an eight-year absence.

The Kings started strongly on Saturday and built an early lead, but that soon changed as they endured long periods of poor offensive execution throughout the first half.

Kickert poured in nine of his team's first 11 points and the visitors were up 17-14 at quarter-time.

The Bullets stretched the margin to eight before the Kings responded to be down 28-24, five minutes from half-time.

Sydney got to within a point but Brisbane hit back to take a 38-34 half-time lead and were up by as many as 11 in the third period.

Despite grabbing 21 rebounds to Brisbane's 36, the Kings found a way to stay in the contest and were down by six with a quarter to play.

Lisch rose to the occasion, splashing a pair of three-point bombs to bring his side level.

But the Bullets held their nerve down the stretch to claim a deserved win.

The Kings have two games scheduled in round two, meeting the Illawarra Hawks in Wollongong on Thursday night before hosting the Cairns Taipans on Saturday.

Brisbane's next game is at home against the Adelaide 36ers next Sunday.

Meanwhile the Perth Wildcats claimed an 84-74 overtime win against the Cairns Taipans on Saturday night to avoid a second straight loss to start their title defence.

Jaron Johnson bought the Perth Arena crowd to their feet when he dropped a three-point shot to tie the scores with just 0.80 seconds remaining in the game.

Just 17.1 seconds earlier, Johnson had those same fans holding their heads in disbelief after he turned the ball over when the Cats trailed by one point and looked to have blown their chance of victory.

That three pointer was Johnson's 13th in a massive personal final quarter after the Taipans had led by as many as six in the same period. He finished the game's highest scorer, with 26, while Casey Prather scored 23.

The Taipans managed only four points in the overtime period.

The Wildcats produced an almost carbon copy of Thursday's away loss to the Brisbane Bullets in the season opener.

They got out to an early lead (14 points) against the Taipans, just like they did against the Bullets - only to let their opposition back in the game after the main break.

Only this time, they managed to find a way to win. Perth coach Trevor Gleeson must have let out a massive sigh of relief after the game, having given away a technical foul and a subsequent one point to the Taipans Cameron Gliddon during the fourth quarter.

The margin then was two points in favour of the visitors.

Gliddon was terrific in the Cairns comeback, adding 10 points of his own in the fourth quarter and 20 for the game.

The Taipans didn't help themselves in the first half though, with inaccurate shooting.

After scoring the first four points of the contest, they managed only eight for the opening quarter. They shot a disappointing 17 per cent from the field, with none of their seven attempts from three-point range dropping.

Cairns also got itself into foul trouble late in the period, but while the Cats couldn't make the most of their gifts from the free-throw line (six from 11), they still led by 11 points at the first break.

That lead was reduced to just eight by half-time, despite the Taipans still struggling in offense.

Prather and Jameel McKay threatened to blow the game apart for the home side early in the second quarter, the beneficiaries of some typically dogged Damian Martin defence - and the lead got out to 14.

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter


© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf04 at 22 Oct 2016 11:01:21 Processing Time: 561ms