By Asa Schuster, Pagemasters
The Perth Wildcats banished the Sydney Kings from the top four with a 97-71 demolition job at the Crown Kingdome on Sunday.
The Wildcats never looked back after leaping out to a blistering 20-2 start to the game, leaving the shell-shocked Kings scrambling in catch-up mode on their way to their eighth straight loss.
The Wildcats continually found momentum-killing baskets in an outing where they shot 61 per cent (37-of-61), connected on 14 three-pointers and notched their sixth consecutive win.
Shawn Redhage (23 points) and Damian Martin (13 points, 9 assists, 4 rebounds) kick-started the Wildcats in the opening moments when they combined for nine of their team's 11 unanswered points, while Kevin Lisch (4-of-9 threes) finished with 19 points and eight assists.
''You've got to play to you're strengths, he's (Martin) the best defensive guard in the country by a mile, he's that good,'' Perth coach Rob Beveridge said.
''He wins games through his defence, so his stats may not look that great from an offensive perspective, but tonight he was pretty good and he sets the standard.''
Ben Madgen led Sydney with a 13-point third quarter on his way to 28 points and Aaron Bruce had 10 points as the Kings reverted back to fifth place.
''If there was any game you would think we would come out ready to play, it would be this one,'' Kings coach Shane Heal said.
''We were fresh, hungry and I felt like we didn't have a lot to lose in this game, we had a lot to gain, but I couldn't be more disappointed with the way we came out and the mindset we came out with.''
The Kings suffered mightily during a horrific start to the game, unable to score on their first 11 attempts as the incredibly red-hot Wildcats connected on their first five shots on their way to streaking ahead 25-11 at quarter-time.
Lisch continued to squash Sydney's hopes early in the second stanza, leading another punishing long-range assault with three of Perth's five timely threes to build a 19-point buffer.
James Harvey and Darnell Lazare both attacked the paint furiously to help keep the deficit in check, but Matthew Knight posted the final four points of the half to have Perth up 51-33.
Sydney finally found their feet midway through the third when Madgen heated up for seven straight points, highlighted by a three-point play on a strong drive to the basket to help pull within nine.
But four late points from Martin, including a running hook and another long-ball from Redhage once again relieved the pressure and handed the visitors a 70-56 advantage with 10 minutes to play.
Martin continued to pace Perth early in the fourth, his crafty drive quickly establishing a 20-point buffer, before Lisch slammed the door shut with his fifth three-pointer at 82-64.
When asked about the performance of Lisch, Beveridge took the opportunity to rectify the sharpshooter's nickname.
''He doesn't like 'D-Lisch at all, so it's got to be Kevin 'Splish', we call him Kevin 'Splish','' he said.
Perth Wildcats 97 (Redhage 23, Lisch 19, Martin 13)
Sydney Kings 71 (Madgen 28, Bruce 10, Crosswhite 9)
Crowd: 5908 at Sydney Entertainment Centre