Perth firms as NBL title favourite - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Perth firms as NBL title favourite

By Adrian Warren 29/12/2002 09:38:22 PM Comments (0)

Only four out of 11 National Basketball League teams boast a winning percentage after a round when Perth firmed as competition favourite and Victorian fans endured more agony.

Ladder leader Perth stretched its winning streak to six with victories on the road against Brisbane 115-90 and West Sydney 105-97.

Perth improved to 14 wins and three losses to remain well clear of Wollongong (12-5), Sydney (11-5) and Canberra (7-5), the only other teams with better than 50 per cent win records.

Cairns (7-8) climbed to fifth by default despite not playing this week as other teams around then lost.

The improving but very hirsute Townsville (8-11) stretched their winning streak to five with victories against Melbourne 94-88 and Adelaide 114-112.

The Crocs had vowed not to shave until winning five in a row and it remains to be seen whether superstition will prevent any of them reaching for a razor given their recent lift in form.

At the other end of the spectrum, Melbourne (7-10) crashed to its sixth straight loss and last placed Victoria (4-13) slumped to an eighth successive defeat to leave the Melbourne basketball community wondering where their next victory was coming from.

After losing to Townsville, Melbourne slumped 94-89 to Wollongong on Saturday as the Hawks remained Perth's closest challenger.

Victoria (4-13) lost 98-91 to a resurgent Sydney (11-5) on Boxing Day with the Kings completing a joyous holiday week with a 114-95 home win over Adelaide (9-10).

The 36ers hung on to sixth despite their losses to Sydney and Townsville.

The Wildcats continued their surge despite an hamstring injury to champion guard Ricky Grace which kept him out of the second leg of their road trip.

Grace's deputy Stephen Black stepped up with 22 points against the Pigs, having scored 24 against the Bullets.

Against West Sydney, Perth had a 25 point lead slashed to three in the final quarter but forward Rob Feaster hit some clutch free throws to steal the win.

Canberra did not play for the second straight week as the NBL attempted to find a saviour for the financially embattled franchise.

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