Perth Wildcats 35-year NBL playoff streak ends, Tasmania

Sunday, April 24, 2022
author picture Noah Rousseau
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Perth Wildcats 35 Year NBL Playoff Streak Ends

The Western Australian basketball team is in do or die mode heading into their final game of the season‚ as the Illawarra Thunder put the pressure on the Perth Wildcats to make the finals. Illawarra has never lost to Perth in 35 years‚ but they did beat them last time out at RAC Arena‚ putting pressure on the Wildcats to extend their streak to the finals. And even though the Wildcats are playing without their best player‚ the coach is confident that he will be able to save his job. Bryce Cotton is closing in on an unprecedented third straight MVP award‚ which would be his third straight. And the news is good for the Wildcats‚ as he has been confirmed as one of three finalists for the award.

Michael Frazier leads Perth Wildcats in scoring

NBA veteran Michael Frazier II has joined the Perth Wildcats‚ leading the team in scoring and assists. The 27-year-old played in the GLeague last season‚ averaging 12.1 points and 1.9 assists. He also played for the Houston Rockets and the Phoenix Suns. Before joining the Wildcats‚ Michael played in the GLeague‚ with one season in Italy's Serie A2. He played college basketball for the Florida Gators‚ averaging 12 points per game. In the season opener‚ Perth was knocked out of the playoffs for the first time since 1986‚ and dropped to fourth place. They were favored to make it to the NBL finals‚ but South East Melbourne made it a difficult road for Perth. Kyle Adnam's team took the opportunity to turn the tables on Perth‚ knocking the Wildcats out of the playoffs for the first time since 1986. While the Wildcats are not without their flaws‚ they remain well-oiled machines. Despite numerous injuries and a post-season plagued by replacements‚ Michael Frazier leads Perth in scoring‚ with 20.6 points per game. The Wildcats have a chance to make the playoffs if they continue to play well. In the meantime‚ they will sit and watch the South East beat Perth and go to the semi-finals. Last week's game against South East Melbourne Phoenix ended in a thrilling overtime thriller between the teams. After trailing by three points in the first quarter‚ the Wildcats took advantage of Phoenix's foul trouble in the second quarter and almost put the game out of reach. The Wildcats escaped twice and led by nine points before the end of the third quarter. However‚ the Wildcats couldn't make a shot to tie the game. With the addition of Cotton and Law‚ the Wildcats have turned their fortunes around. With a win in their last two games‚ they won't have to worry about losing their best players to the Bullets any longer. With three players scoring double figures in the first half and another in the second‚ the Wildcats are a solid team with a bright future. However‚ they will have to keep up their momentum this season as they wrap up a five-match homestand against the Tasmania JackJumpers. The Wildcats have won four of their last five games. They're currently 8-4 overall and have a good balance between offense and defense. The Wildcats are in the final stages of the season‚ and Frazier should be in the starting lineup until the playoffs begin. With Frazier at the helm‚ they'll likely make a deep run in the NBL this season. So‚ how do you keep up with Michael Frazier? In the NCAA‚ Frazier has set a career high in steals. On February 8‚ 2017‚ he reached six steals during the Gators' road loss against the Vanderbilt Commodores. He also had 21 points‚ 5 rebounds‚ and 1 assist. In Europe‚ Frazier is tied for his career high in blocks in a Verona Serie A2 game against Treviso. The guard also recorded two blocks and had 14 points‚ 4 rebounds‚ and four assists in the loss.

Xavier Munford scores game-winning shot

The game-winning shot came late in overtime to give the Perth Wildcats a 114-111 victory over the South East Melbourne Phoenix. Xavier Munford had 24 points and Brandon Ashley had 17 and Mitch Creek scored 15. Xavier Munford‚ the 'Cats' vice-captain‚ hit a three-pointer with 1:35 remaining. The game was tied at 114-114 after Cotton hit a three-pointer with 1:35 left to make it one-point game. However‚ Cotton missed the tying shot in overtime. Afterwards‚ the JackJumpers celebrated by tweeting I've fainted. The lead was down to two points late in the fourth quarter. But the Wildcats rallied and were within nine points with eight minutes left to play. Bryce Cotton scored 14 points‚ while Darius Cotton struggled to hit from beyond the arc‚ but Munford's three-pointer rattled off the rim. The shot forced the game into overtime‚ where the lead changed several times. The Perth Wildcats lost in overtime to the South East Melbourne Phoenix‚ ending their streak of NBL finals appearances at 35. With the loss‚ the Wildcats will finish fifth in the NBL ladder‚ a stretch that stretches back to 1986. Despite a narrow margin‚ the Wildcats capitalised on the Phoenix's early foul trouble‚ scoring 15 free throws in the first half alone. With Vic Law out injured‚ Perth looked to be on track to extend their streak to 36 games‚ but their star forward suffered an injury that prevented him from playing. While the Wildcats missed out on the NBL finals‚ the JackJumpers have now qualified for the semi-finals. They will play the United in the semi-finals. The Illawarra Hawks will face the Sydney Kings. Xavier Munford scored 24 points‚ Brandon Ashley had 17 points‚ Mitch Creek had six rebounds and Kyle Adnam had two assists. Other notable players included Zhou Qi with 11 points and Izayah Le'afa with 10.

Perth Wildcats miss NBL Finals for first time since 1986

After missing the finals in each of the past 36 years‚ the Perth Wildcats have been forced to settle for fifth place on the NBL ladder this season. They were eliminated by the South East Melbourne Phoenix‚ 88-81‚ in overtime. The win propels Tasmania to fourth place in the NBL‚ where they will face the Melbourne United in a best-of-three semifinal on Thursday. The Wildcats finished as minor premiers‚ but were able to advance to the semi-finals after defeating the Melbourne Blaze and Canberra Cannons. The team was ranked fourth and was led by Andrew Gaze‚ Lanard Copeland‚ and Mark Bradtke‚ who averaged 24.7 points per game. Despite missing the Finals‚ the team is still proud of their success. The team renamed itself to Perth Wildcats in 1984‚ and went on to finish 16th on the ladder. However‚ in 1985‚ the Wildcats renamed themselves and signed Jay Brehmer‚ who averaged 22.9 points per game. Redhage also helped the team to a Semi-final appearance‚ only to lose to eventual champions Melbourne Tigers. The Wildcats' disappointing season was largely due to the loss of star import Isaiah Thomas. In the previous season‚ the Wildcats finished 12th with an 8-18 record. With their new look‚ the team was able to recruit James Ennis‚ who averaged 19 points and eight rebounds per game. He was a key player‚ earning four Gordon Ellis Medals as the Wildcats' Club MVP and earning the nickname 'The Scoring Machine'. The Wildcats were the minor premiers in the regular season‚ but they fell short in the grand final series in 1987. They won back-to-back NBL titles in 1990 and 1991‚ and they also won the title in 1995‚ the year before their first appearance in the NBL Finals since 1986. They won the fourth title in 1999/2000 season and are in the running for the league's MVP award. Despite their disappointing season‚ the Wildcats have made the playoffs in every round this season. In addition to missing the finals for the first time since 1986‚ they missed the NBL Finals this year. Their loss comes as a blow to their reputation as an elite team. While their performance against the Adelaide Crows‚ however‚ was impressive‚ it was hardly enough to lift them to the next level.