The West

The Perth Wildcats rounded out the year in emphatic fashion with a 95-61 thumping of the Sydney Kings at the Sydney Entertainment Centre today.

Reigning league MVP Kevin Lisch led the rout with 22 points as the Wildcats sent yet another warning to their title rivals with their biggest win of the season and eighth straight against Sydney since the Kings re-entered the league in 2010.

The Wildcats (9-4) remain in second place behind reigning champions New Zealand (10-3) but will be confident of putting in an even stronger showing in the second half of the season with 10 of their remaining 15 games to be played at Perth Arena.

Wildcats coach Rob Beveridge promoted Jesse Wagstaff and Greg Hire to the starting line-up against the Kings and Wagstaff repaid his coach's faith with 15 points.

Everard Bartlett (13), Shawn Redhage (11) and Hire (11) also reached double figures as the Wildcats led from start to finish.

Sydney employed a full-court press but couldn't limit the free-flowing Wildcats offense.

"We were expecting a full-court press and they threw one at us," Wildcats point-guard Damian Martin said. "We got a lot of easy buckets over the top by attacking the press and that's something we haven't really done all year.

"It's nice to not only face the press but get good points out of it."

The Kings have surprised the competition this season to emerge as a serious play-offs contender but put on a meek display on their home court.

Ben Madgen missed his first eight field goal attempts but recovered to finish with 22 points as the only Kings player to cause the Wildcats any real problems.

American import Mike Dunigan produce a relatively quiet display with eight points and six rebounds in what could be his final game for the Wildcats.

Dunigan was signed on a short-term deal to replace injured centre Matt Knight (torn calf) and NBL rules state he will have to be cut loose when Knight returns to the active roster.

Knight could return as early as Saturday when the Wildcats hit the road for another away game against Cairns.

The West Australian

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