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Wildcats flop in Perth Arena debut
Wildcats forward Shawn Redhage tries to pass under pressure from Adelaide's Luke Schenscher. Picture: Paul Kane/Getty Images

It was an historic night for basketball at Perth Arena but the Perth Wildcats lost the first match at the $550 million stadium 69-65 to Adelaide tonight.

More than 11,000 fans piled into the Arena to set a new attendance record for the National Basketball League in Perth but most left disappointed after the 36ers caused a boilover.

The result meant the Wildcats suffered a third successive defeat for just the second time in more than three seasons under coach Rob Beveridge.

WA product Daniel Johnson starred for the visitors with 21 points and 15 rebounds, while Anthony Petrie (12 and 10) provided his trademark grunt off the bench.

The Wildcats' shooting woes continued as they made just 31 per cent of their field goal attempts.

Jesse Wagstaff top-scored for the home side with 14 points and Matt Knight had 13.

The lead changed five times during a scrappy final period and it was Adelaide who executed when it mattered most.

A superb Adam Gibson pass for Johnson under the ring gave the Sixers the upper hand with 31 seconds left and Jason Cadee iced the game with two cool free throws.

Tempers threatened to boil over late in the third quarter when Wildcats captain Brad Robbins took offence to Johnson shoving Wagstaff and blood was spilled in the final term as Greg Hire and Gibson fought over a loose ball.

Adelaide dominated the rebound count (29-16) and shot at a better percentage than the Wildcats during a scrappy first half, but trailed 32-31 at the main break despite the hard work of Petrie and Johnson.

Mitch Creek temporarily silenced the home crowd with a huge dunk just before the quarter-time buzzer and repeated the dose soon after the restart, extending the visitors' lead to eight points.

It was the biggest margin of the first half but the Wildcats hit back, with Knight having greatest impact on the scoreboard with 10 first-half points.

Adelaide's Adam Gibson tries to get around Wildcat Kevin Lisch in the tense match at Perth Arena. Picture: Paul Kane/Getty Images