‘Brisbane Blanks’ misfire in horror capitulation
THE misfiring Brisbane Bullets could change their name to the 'Brisbane Blanks' after surrendering a 21-point lead in a disastrous 81-80 loss to reigning NBL champion Perth.
Wildcats import Bryce Cotton hit a jumpshot with less than a second left on the clock to put the Wildcats in front after Bullets import Travis Trice put Brisbane in the lead with four seconds remaining in the seesawing encounter at the Brisbane Convention Centre.
Brisbane suffered their sixth-loss in a row to end the faintest of faint hopes for a finals berth as the Wildcats stormed home in the second half, outscoring the floundering Bullets 49-33 across the last two quarters.
The Bullets have been guilty of throwing away double-digit leads numerous times this season and they butchered another game-winning buffer.
It was like Groundhog Day for the Bullets as they struggled offensively and defensively when the game was on the line.
Brisbane led by 12 points at quarter-time, 15 points at halftime and five points at three-quarter time with Perth hitting the lead for the first time deep into the fourth quarter.
The Bullets held a handsome 37-16 advantage early in the second term but the Wildcats were not to be denied despite backing up from a high intensity top-of-the-table clash with Melbourne in Perth on Friday night.
Cotton had 13 points while fellow import Jean-Pierre Tokoto had 16 points and seven rebounds for the Wildcats.
Trice top-scored for Brisbane with 18 points while Perrin Buford and Stephen Holt had 11 points each for Brisbane (7-14).
The Wildcats roared back into the contest by outscoring the Bullets 25-15 in the third quarter to narrow the home side's margin to just five points at the last break.
Perth's fullcourt press stifled Brisbane offence as the Wildcats woke from their slumber to put Brisbane under immense pressure at both ends of the floor.
The Bullets have crumbled under the same pressure numerous times already this season with at least four winnable games going by the wayside.
Australian NBA stars Andrew Bogut and Joe Ingles had a bet over the result on Twitter with Bogut backing the Wildcats when Perth was 20-10 in arrears.
Ingles backed the Bullets and will now have to pay for dinner for Boomers teammate Bogut.
"Perth with the bounce back W (win)?" Bogut tweeted.
"Dinner?'' Ingles responded.
"Even tho (sic) its 20-10, why not…" Bogut said.
Bogut later jokingly tweeted that he would get in contact with Perth coach Trevor Gleeson at halftime to fire up the Wildcats.
Without injured sharpshooting forward Daniel Kickert (calf), Brisbane led 47-32 at halftime after holding a 21-point buffer early in the second quarter on the back of three quick-fire three-pointers from Holt.
The Wildcats stayed in the hunt by going inside to their tall timber while Brisbane helped the visitors with some untimely turnovers, silly fouls and poor shot selection.
But aside from the lapses in concentration, Brisbane ran the flat Wildcats off their feet in the opening two quarters with eight players getting on the scoresheet by the main break with the import trio of Trice, Holt and Buford leading the way.
A switched-on Bullets led 28-16 at quarter-time after scoring the first seven points of the game.