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DrinkWise game preview: Wildcats v JackJumpers - play-offs game two

10 Mar
3 mins read

Written By

Jordan McArdle

Perth Wildcats can book their spot in the NBL24 championship series with a win over Tasmania at MyState Bank Arena on Monday.

The Wildcats won an arm-wrestle at RAC Arena on Friday night to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three semi-final series.

But head coach John Rillie knows his team can’t relax heading into game two in Hobart against a JackJumpers outfit desperate to bounce back.

“We can’t relax. It’s a series. We can’t get too carried away with it. We’ve held home court advantage for now,” Rillie said.

With superstar Bryce Cotton held to 15 points, Rillie said it was pleasing to see others chip in for important cameos around big man Keanu Pinder’s mammoth performance.

Pinder scored a game-high 25 points in his finals debut including five of seven from outside the arc.

Jordan Usher (11 points) and Alex Sarr (nine points and three blocks) both made valuable contributions off the bench, while captain Jesse Wagstaff, Hyrum Harris and Tai Webster impressed at the defensive end.

“We’ve been together since late July or August and this group is phenomenal with their camaraderie and mateship. They want to win for each other,” Rillie said.

“Are we going to win? I don’t know. But we’ve got some nice ingredients to allow that to happen for us.

“We just had guys chip in at the right time. I felt it was a great team performance. That’s what we’ve done throughout the year and we continued to do that.”

If Tasmania win, game three will be back in Perth on Wednesday night.

The winner of the series takes on either Melbourne United or Illawarra, with that series currently 1-1.

 

Game details

Who: Perth Wildcats vs Tasmania JackJumpers

When: 4.30pm WST Monday 11 March

Where: MyState Bank Arena

Watch: Live and Free on ESPN via Kayo

 

Opposition watch

Tasmania will be without Marcus Lee after the import copped a one-game bench over an incident involving Jordan Usher in the final term of the Wildcats’ hard-fought win at RAC Arena on Friday night.

The JackJumpers knocked off Perth last time the two sides played at MyState Bank Arena in the final round of the regular season, but that was without four-time NBL MVP Bryce Cotton.

Jordon Crawford scored 13 first-half points on Friday night and will again be a danger player, while Will Magnay and Milton Doyle are a couple of others the Wildcats will be keen to contain.

 

Last time they met

The Wildcats prevailed 89-81 at RAC Arena on Friday night on the back of a dominant finals debut from Keanu Pinder.

Pinder’s game was that impressive, opposition coach Scott Roth singled him out during his post-match press conference.

“I thought Pinder was fantastic, I thought it was the best game I’ve seen him play all season ... I thought he was really, really good,” Roth said.

“Like any player when you see them go in your confidence builds. We didn’t step up on him enough and most of those shots were wide open and really in rhythm. He’s a very good player and I haven’t followed all their games, but I’m assuming that was his best game of the season or pretty darn close.

“He was really, really good.”

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