The Perth Wildcats have ended a three-game NBL losing streak with a dominant second half that set up a 27-point win over the Sydney Kings at the Perth Arena.
Perth moved back into the top two with a 95-68 victory on the back of an entertaining 27-point performance from Casey Prather.
Their defence also seemed to click in the second half when they restricted the Kings to just 29 points, while adding 52 of their own.
The Cats turned a four-point quarter-time deficit into a four-point lead (43-39) at the main break due mainly to the Kings getting themselves in foul trouble.
The Cats scored 17 of their 26 points in the second quarter from 10 visits to the free throw line. Twelve of their last 14 points of the half were courtesy of charity free-throws gifted by Sydney’s defence.
Tom Garlepp made the Kings defence look good though, scoring 17 points for the first half, all from the field.
He continued his form in the second half to finish a game-high 30 points. However, the next best for Sydney was Rhys Carter, with just eight.
Josh Childress had a tough night at the office, returning to WA for the first time since he was ejected from the same arena 15 months ago for striking Jesse Wagstaff with an elbow.
The vocal Perth crowd hadn’t forgotten and, whether the booing put him off or not, he only scored seven points while shooting one from 11 (nine per cent) from the field.
Jermaine Beale added nine for the quarter and Prather 10, including three three-pointers between them, to set up the victory.
The loss hurt the Kings, who sit bottom of the NBL ladder with just five wins from 22 outings.
The now face a gruelling stretch of games, taking on Adelaide, Townsville and Cairns, all on the road, before getting back to Sydney.
Perth can consolidate their position in the top two over the next two weeks, with four games home games, against Illawarra, the Taipans, Melbourne United and the Kings on February 5.