The Perth Wildcats recorded their first win inside Perth Arena and snapped a three-game losing slide by thrashing the New Zealand Breakers 89-64 in a grand final rematch on Thursday night.
The Wildcats were dominant after quarter-time, holding the first-placed Breakers to just 16 points in the middle two quarters and out-rebounding the Kiwis 41-23.
With 11,086 fans watching the Wildcats put on a much-improved showing than against the 36ers last Friday night, Shawn Redhage turning back the clock with 20 points on 9-of-15 shooting.
"There was a lot of pressure. We were disappointed with the way we played for three games, we thought the effort was there but the execution wasn’t at times," Redhage said.
"(Perth Arena) felt a little bit more like home and it helps when you are making shots as well. There were a lot of spectacular performances from guys and that's how we have to play."
Redhage was also delighted with his own personal turnaround.
"I hadn’t been happy with the way I was playing. I've played in this league long enough to know that you just keep working. Bevo has been good supporting and encouraging me, and I was able to get a couple shots down early tonight that helped."
Kevin Lisch added 18 points and six rebounds and co-captain Brad Robbins was instrumental early with 11 points and five assists.
Cedric Jackson hit 15 points for the Breakers with Will Hudson adding 12 and Corey Webster 11 in a season-best performance.
Breakers coach Andrej Lemanis simply felt his team didn’t want to work as hard as the Wildcats.
"They played with a greater desperation and like a team that really needed to win that game ... We didn’t match that desperation," Lemanis said.
"To get smashed on the boards as we did is an indicator of those effort levels, and that's a good sign that we weren’t prepared to play as hard as they were."
Coming into the game Redhage had been enduring the leanest period of his career in Perth, but he was on fire early with seven points and two assists in the opening three-and-a-half minutes.
Alex Pledger and Jackson made sure New Zealand kept the scoreboard ticking down the other end, both teams were firing offensively until a Redhage buzzer-beater gave Perth a 28-27 quarter-time advantage.
The Wildcats put the foot down with the first six points of the second period and another 7-0 run soon after had the home side up by 12.
The Breakers had just two points in the first seven and-a-half minutes, but scored six straight late in the term to reduce the gap to 45-35 at half-time.
It was more of the same from the Wildcats in the third quarter, Redhage and Lisch hitting quick baskets and another 9-0 run taking the lead beyond 20.
Threes from Leon Henry, CJ Bruton and Jackson, plus a three-point play to Hudson helped New Zealand get back to within 14 early in the last quarter.
But the Wildcats steadied and Redhage put an exclamation point on the night with an emphatic dunk as Perth cruised to their 25-point win.
Perth Wildcats 89 (Redhage 20, Lisch 18, Robbins 11)
New Zealand Breakers 64 (Jackson 15, Hudson 12, Webster 11)
Crowd: 11,086 at Perth Arena