Wildcat Plumlee shines in NBL thriller

Brad Elborough
New Perth import Miles Plumlee was influential as the Wildcats pipped the NZ Breakers in the NBL

Miles Plumlee has proven why the Perth Wildcats made the move to grab him with a stunning NBL performance against the Breakers.

The former NBA centre controlled the key at both ends of RAC Arena as the Cats beat the New Zealand side 80-79 in a thriller on Saturday night.

The Breakers trailed by 10 points early in the final quarter, but Brandon Ashley and Jarrad Weeks continued to make some big plays. They had possession for the last few seconds of the game.

But they were disorganised in those dying seconds, unable to take a time-out. A Finn Delaney pass was cut off by Terrico White, ending the Breakers two-game winning streak and potentially their hopes of playing finals.

Breakers coach Dan Shamir isn't focusing on what's needed to finish in the top four.

"I am not caught in any of those calculations," he said.

"We came here wanting to come with a good plan and leave everything on the floor.

"I think besides the execution, it has been like that for 10 to 13 games; that we don't break, even though in a few moments we don't play well.

"We will approach the next one the same way."

The Breakers were coming off wins against Sydney and Melbourne, but Plumlee was just too big a hurdle for them to overcome.

He entered double-double territory early in the third term and finished with 23 points, 17 rebounds and an impressive highlight reel of dunks.

With Nick Kay also collecting 20 points and 11 rebounds, the Wildcats appeared well in control.

But New Zealand continued to push.

Ashley impressed with 21 points and grabbed 11 rebounds and Delaney hit 16 points.

Bryce Cotton had looked like he was in for a big night when he dropped 16 points for Perth in the first term and the reigning premiers led by 11 during the quarter.

But Henry and Tom Abercrombie closed down on the champions after the break after, which they went into just six points down after a Weeks buzzer-beater from long distance.

Cotton finished managed 23 points as the Cats claimed their third consecutive win and probably a spot in another finals campaign.

Coach Trevor Gleeson thinks the close call was a good thing for his side as the playoffs close in.

"New Zealand, if they didn't have the injuries they had, they are a playoff team; they are playing sensationally.

"Melbourne (who the Cats play on Wednesday) are going to be hungry and then Sydney, so it's a good run in for us playing against quality teams before the playoffs."