The West

Lisch warns rivals of NZ strength
Kevin Lisch of the Wildcats. Picture: Getty Images

Perth Wildcats star Kevin Lisch has warned rival teams not to take New Zealand lightly despite the WA team's big win in Auckland on Friday.

Lisch scored 20 points to lead the scoring with big man Matt Knight as the Wildcats dismantled last season's grand final opponents before half-time.

The Cats led by 25 points during the second quarter and never let the Breakers get closer than 15 as they held their nerve in the second half.

The result marked the first time a reigning champion had been beaten in their season opener since Adelaide lost to Wollongong in 2002.

But Lisch tipped the Breakers to bounce back.

"It was the first game of the year for both teams," he said.

"There's still a long way to go and they're still going to be up their when it comes to the end of the season."

The Wildcats provided the blueprint for teams heading to Auckland with a supreme defensive effort and team-orientated approach.

"We took away a lot of things, especially at the defensive end," Lisch said.

"They struggled to score and missed some shot that were open that I felt they'd usually hit.

"But at the same time I think we just took them and the crowd out of the game right from the beginning."

New Zealand will be looking to open their account on Friday when they host Adelaide, who got their season off to a positive start with an 84-61 win over Melbourne today.

Willetton product Daniel Johnson was the Sixers' best with 21 points and former Wildcat Stephen Weigh nailed 21 points at an impressive 67 per cent form the field.

Seth Scott scored 17 points for Melbourne in a game marred by an on-court fight in the third quarter.

Adelaide big man Anthony Petrie and Tigers guard Chris Goulding - teammates at the now-defunct Gold Coast Blaze - were both ejected for their roles in the fight.

Sixers coach Marty Clarke took a positive view of the incident, saying it showed the lengths his players were prepared to go to for their teammates.

"I wouldn't mind if I saw it every week," he said.

"It's clearly why certain guys were brought to the club because it's something we haven't really been able to manufacture in the last couple of years.

"It's a care factor. It's a guy sticking up for his mate and all those great Australian things."

The West Australian

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