THE National Basketball League (NBL) continued into its 10th round of action for the 2021/22 season over the weekend, with some mouth-watering clashes across a packed schedule. One of the biggest matches of the bunch was the clash between the SEM Phoenix and the Perth Wildcats at John Cain Arena on Saturday night. This was set up to be a blockbuster clash given the two sides have been fantastic to start the season. There was plenty of anticipation for the matchup with star power on either side. The Phoenix got off to a ripping start, but could not maintain their momentum for the remaining three quarters, with the visitors running over the top of them. Perth ended up coming away 22-point victors as it strengthens its championship credentials.
In this article, we take a look at some of the key talking points to take out of this contest, with this result causing some serious conversation around the country.
1. Wildcats emerge winners in clash of the titans
In a match that was considered to be one of the biggest of the season, the Perth Wildcats proved too good for their opponents in the South East Melbourne Phoenix. The Phoenix entered this clash on top of the standings with their game well-and-truly rolling over recent weeks, but they faced a formidable opponent this time around. The Wildcats have set the bar as a successful side over recent seasons, and have continued this trend so far in this campaign too. The Phoenix owned the opening term, jumping out to an early lead in the first 10 minutes as the Wildcats found themselves on the back foot. However, Perth was able to bounce back in the remaining terms, largely due to the different avenues of scoring they wield.
2. Travers’ career night
There has been plenty of hype around young Wildcats guard Luke Travers, given the potential he has shown throughout the season. He has shown glimpses of excellence to start the season, but he was able to string it all together against the Phoenix. Coming off the bench once again, he produced 24 points and seven rebounds to be the player of the match. He proved an equal threat from both inside the paint and behind the arc, with the defence unable to predict his next move. If he can continue to put together more performances of this calibre, his future will only get brighter by the match.
3. Mr. Reliable does it again
The Wildcats have plenty of offensive options on a weekly basis, but none are more consistent than star point guard Bryce Cotton, who has been simply outstanding since joining the league a few years ago. He has proven to be must-see TV every time he suits up for the Wildcats and he was once again at his best against the Phoenix. Despite a lot of defensive attention, Cotton was able to break free for 21 points and six assists in a leader’s performance. He is well and truly in the conversation for the MVP award come season’s end, and will be vital to the championship aspirations of the Wildcats moving forward.