West Australian Daniel Johnson returned home and dominated on opening night at Perth Arena, leading the visiting Adelaide 36ers to a thrilling 69-65 win over the Perth Wildcats.
Johnson was born and raised in Perth, played in a local SBL championship with the Willetton Tigers and would have dreamed of being the star on opening night of the new stadium.
However, his 21 points and 15 rebounds, including a crucial two with 35 seconds remaining and just two seconds on the shot clock, ruined the opening-night party for the sell-out crowd.
His feathery touch put the Sixers up 67-65 and then Jason Cadee iced the game at the free-throw line after connecting on an enormous three-pointer moments earlier.
Alongside Johnson, Anthony Petrie was outstanding for Adelaide with 12 points and 10 rebounds, while Cadee added 12 points as the 36ers beat the Wildcats for the second time in five days.
Adelaide coach Marty Clarke was especially happy with Johnson, Petrie and Stephen Weigh's rebounding efforts that helped the Sixers to a 45-38 advantage for the game.
"He (Johnson) was awesome and he and Petrie did really well. They rebounded well and that's clearly the thing you have to do well against the Cats," Clarke said.
"Rebounding well has been a trait of Perth with their ability to smash the glass, and we talked a lot about it during the week."
Jesse Wagstaff top-scored with 14 points, Matt Knight added 13 and Kevin Lisch 12 for the Wildcats, but they shot a poor 24-of-78 as a team from the field.
"To be honest, I'm absolutely gutted because the guys are really working their butts off and they are not rewarding themselves," coach Rob Beveridge said.
"To me they are playing scared and that's the thing I'm gutted about. I don't know where it's come from and down the stretch it's like we are tentative rather than just going out and playing like we should be doing at the Perth Wildcats."
The crowd of 11,562 is the biggest ever home crowd for the Wildcats in the club's 30th season and made for a spectacular sight.
For the record, after Cadee's opening attempt missed it was Knight who scored the first basket, then ominously Johnson answered to be the first opposition player to score in the new building.
Adelaide made the first run of the game, scoring eight straight points late in the period, punctuated by Mitch Creek's hammered dunk through traffic.
Creek started the second with another jam but the Wildcats clawed their way back during a scrappy period, Knight's play down low especially impressive as Perth grabbed a 32-31 half-time advantage.
The game between these great rivals was then always going to come down to the wire, and the story of the second half was Perth's missed shots close to the basket, with several attempts doing everything but fall.
The Sixers had no such problem, their young guns Johnson and Cadee making the plays that mattered down the stretch.
Adelaide 36ers 69 (Johnson 21, Cadee 12, Petrie 12)
Perth Wildcats 65 (Wagstaff 14, Knight 13, Lisch 12)
Crowd: 11,562 at Perth Arena