The Perth Wildcats maintained pace with New Zealand atop the NBL after a thumping 86-64 win over the Cairns Taipans at Perth Arena on Friday night.
While the two-time defending champion Breakers remain on top with a 14-3 record, the Wildcats are not too far behind at 12-4 after yet another convincing win in front of 11,808 fans.
After an even first quarter, where Taipans Shane Edwards and Cam Gliddon produced spectacular highlights at each end, the second period saw big runs from both sides.
The Wildcats made the first break to lead 30-23, but seven straight Cairns points sparked by the mercurial Jamar Wilson had scores level at 30.
However, that was the last time Cairns would have a sniff as the Wildcats closed the half on a 22-4 run and were never challenged again.
The two teams continued on the NBL's Heritage Round with the Wildcats' donning the yellow and black of the club's inaugural 1982 season, and the Taipans wearing the Cairns Marlins' striking orange and blue numbers.
It was Wildcats co-captain Shawn Redhage who showed why his No. 42 could very well join those of past greats Scott Fenton, Mike Ellis, James Crawford, Scott Fisher, Andrew Vlahov and Ricky Grace in the rafters of Perth Arena with a season-best performance.
The six-time club MVP finished with a season-high 26 points to go with seven rebounds in a display reminiscent of his best form.
Everard Bartlett added a career-best 16 points including 4-of-6 from long range, while Kevin Lisch (15 points), Matt Knight (15, 7 rebounds) and Damian Martin (10, 4 assists) also made their mark.
Wildcats coach Rob Beveridge was delighted not to see a repeat of last week's fourth-quarter lethargy.
"It's really hard to play a 40-minute game of basketball because you play against some really good teams, but this was definitely a lot better than last week," he said.
"We spoke about needing to close it out and that's what I was most pleased about. Last week we shut up shop and I thought that shows a bit of a weakness, but tonight we definitely did a terrific job of closing it out."
Alex Loughton top-scored for the Taipans with 16 points as import pair Edwards and Wilson added 15 each in what was a disappointing fadeout after a promising start.
"We knew we had to handle their full-court pressure that they apply to it, and up until five minutes into the second quarter the guys were fantastic and then lost some concentration," Taipans coach Aaron Fearne said.
"We didn’t follow some rules that we had put in place on how we wanted to guard certain people and it went from three to 18 in a heartbeat, and it pretty much stayed like that for the rest of the game."
The Wildcats have now won nine of their last 10 games and the win over the Taipans came without the services of Jesse Wagstaff and before the arrival of replacement point guard Rhys Carter from Sweden.
While it was a disappointing night for Cairns, who slip to 5-11, they are still well in contention for Wollongong's fourth spot (8-8).
Perth Wildcats 86 (Redhage 26, Bartlett 16, Knight 15, Lisch 15)
Cairns Taipans 64 (Loughton 16, Edwards 15, Wilson 15)
Crowd: 11,808 at Perth Arena