The Cairns Taipans caused a massive upset in Perth on Friday night, beating the Wildcats by 23 points to win their first game of the season.
Cameron Oliver impressed with a powerful 22 points and nine rebounds to lead the Taipans to a 99-76 win over the reigning champions at RAC Arena, the Cats' biggest loss at the venue.
Majok Deng also knocked down 22 points. The win was set up in the third term when the visitors turned a four-point half-time lead into a 14-point advantage.
Perth coach Trevor Gleeson said he's disappointed anytime his side gets outworked on their home court.
"They were at a different level than we were at tonight," he said.
"We certainly went individually and didn't stick together tight as a unit.
Defence has been our backbone and they were scoring at will."
The Wildcats struggled at both ends, with Nick Kay and Terrico White top-scoring with 15 points apiece.
The signs were good for Cairns early. For the fourth time this season, they led at half time. This time though, they went on with it.
Cairns had faded out in each of their three earlier games. They were minus 38 points total in second halves in those clashes.
On Friday, they played like a side desperate not to fall to 0-4.
Taipans coach Mike Kelly said he sensed a performance like this was coming.
"Yeah, I think we have a talented team. If we play with a physical presence, we have a chance to win a lot of ball games," he said.
"I think we showed we can play in the NBL and win a game. If we win (the next game) we're in a good spot after playing a few on the road now."
They pushed the Wildcats by finding multiple ways to the basket.
Defensively, they didn't do too much wrong either; the Cats shooting at just 32 per cent and at just 26.7 per cent after half-time.
Perth have to regroup when they hit the road for the first time this season, playing United in Melbourne on Sunday.
Cairns will be trying to build on this win when they travel to Adelaide to play the 36ers on Friday.
Australian Associated Press