DrinkWise game preview: Round 18 - Perth Wildcats v NZ Breakers
Not only can the second-placed Wildcats secure a top-two spot and semi-final hosting rights with a win over the Breakers, they will also be hoping to celebrate club great Damian Martin’s jersey retirement in style.
Martin’s No.53 jersey will hang in the rafters in a special post-game ceremony, with former teammate and three-time NBL MVP Bryce Cotton describing it as a massive moment for the club.
“It’s cool that I get to be in the building for it,” Cotton said.
“Once you’re a Wildcat, you are always a Wildcat. Even the guys that haven’t played with Damo on this team know who he is. They’ll get to see the mark that he’s left behind. he left his mark not only with the club but with the league.
“I think it will probably inspire the guys on the team, including myself to continue to be all we can be so we can leave our mark as best we can when we are done.”
Another part of the Retro Round celebrations will see the Wildcats return to their traditional black-and-yellow colours.
“It’s good to pay homage to the history. I love these colours and I think they’ve brought us luck in the past years. Hopefully it stays the same,” Cotton said.
Who: Perth Wildcats vs NZ Breakers
When: 1pm WST Sunday 4 February
Where: RAC Arena
Watch: Live on ESPN via Kayo or Foxtel
The Breakers head into Round 18 in eighth spot with a 10-13 record and a healthy percentage of more than 100.
They’re still in the hunt for a play-in spot but will need to win at least two – and more likely three – of their last five games to get there.
Former NBA star Anthony Lamb has been a brilliant addition to the line-up since joining mid-season, averaging 20.1 points per game which is third-most in the competition.
Lamb is a strong chance for All-NBL First Team selection.
After an injury-hampered start to the season, Next Star Mantas Rubštavi?ius has had a big impact for the Breakers.
Last time they met
The Wildcats have won both of their previous match-ups against the Breakers in NBL24 – one at home and the latter away.
MVP favourite Bryce Cotton hit a game-high 31 points last time the two sides met in Auckland last month, resulting in a 108-102 come-from-behind win by the Wildcats.
Lamb was the Breakers' best with 27 points, eight rebounds and six assists, while fellow import Zylan Cheatham chipped in with 25.