No respite for Perth Wildcats in showdown with Breakers

Angus Brandt of the Perth Wildcats celebrates a score NZ Breakers at Perth Arena. Photo/AP Photos
Angus Brandt of the Perth Wildcats celebrates a score NZ Breakers at Perth Arena. Photo/AP Photos

Perth Wildcats will draw on last season's successful finals series against the NZ Breakers to prepare for the quick turnaround required before playing in Auckland on Sunday.

The Wildcats won an epic encounter against the Cairns Taipans in overtime at the Perth Arena last night.

But they had to quickly turn their attention Sunday's clash with the Breakers, who have the same number of wins as them (11), having played one more game (23).

Wildcats coach Trevor Gleeson said the experience of last season's Grand Final series against the Breakers will be beneficial in their preparation.

The Cats won at home in Game One of that series, lost in Auckland two days later, but won the deciding third game, back in Perth, two days after that.

"This is the toughest road trip, without question," Gleeson said. "We play, then have to jump on a plane tomorrow.

"We get in at midnight their time, so won't get to sleep until three or four in the morning. Five hours time change, so it's the toughest you get.

"Most of our guys did it last year in the playoff, so they know what to expect, know how to take care of the body. We have to teach the new guys how to take care of that.

"It's a more enjoyable flight, for the coaches and players [after the win over the Taipans]."

One Wildcat used the clash against Cairns to carry on his recent momentum and remind the NBL what he is capable of.

Centre Angus Brandt stood up at both ends of the court in a game where his side most needed him to. The 2.08m Brandt finished with a season-high 17 points and 11 rebounds, while his performance was highlighted by some outstanding defence on Taipans big man Nate Jawai.

Brandt has averaged just over 11 minutes a game this season, but played 21 minutes and scored 12 points against the Taipans last week, then backed up with 30 minutes of court time on Friday night.

"Tonight, Gus was fantastic," Gleeson said. "He was a power down there and the guys were getting him the ball at the right times.

"He was active, he was blowing - I know he was tired. They were saying he needs a break, but I said 'I don't care, he's staying out there'.

"Probably took a little bit to get what we needed form him at the start of the season, but this last month, he has been great."

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