Andrew Bogut put on a first-half masterclass to inspire the Sydney Kings to a 97-83 victory over the Perth Wildcats in game two of the NBL grand final series.
Bogut scored 17 points and posted 10 rebounds in the first half of Friday's clash at a near-empty RACE Arena.
Andrew Bogut starred for the Sydney Kings in their victory over Perth.Credit:Getty Images
The star Boomer finished with 19 points and 13 rebounds, while Jae'Sean Tate (20 points) and Kevin Lisch (19) were also crucial in helping the Kings level the best-of-five series at 1-1.
Game three will be played in Sydney on Sunday.
Wildcats star Bryce Cotton threatened to steal the win for the home side with a 27-point haul, including four long bombs.
But with only him and Nick Kay (17 points) hitting the scoreboard with any big impact, the Wildcats didn't have enough firepower on the night.
Terrico White was below his best with just five points.
Just hours before Friday night's tip-off, the NBL decided to close the rest of the grand final series to fans in response to the spread of the coronavirus.
The NBL decided to close the rest of the grand final series to fans, leaving a near-empty stadium.Credit:AAP
About 200 friends and family of the Wildcats organisation were still allowed to attend Friday's game, and although they were small in number they at least gave Perth a significant vocal presence.
In contrast, it was left to the Kings' bench to put off the shooter whenever a Wildcats player went to the line.
"We built a margin on the back of some better three-point shooting," Kings coach Will Weaver said.
"We did a better job of limiting Cotton and White's touches. They're a real problem on the offensive end.
"But I continue to highlight that the offensive rebounding game seems to be the key any time you play these guys."
Wildcats coach Trevor Gleeson was disappointed with his team's defensive effort.
"They were scoring pretty much at their will – 57 in the first half," Gleeson said.
"It was really disappointing we didn't put a stamp on the game defensively.
"Tate and Bogut got about 40 points between them. That's a big blow we didn't do a good job on."
It was the Bogut versus Cotton show in the first half as the stars traded blows.
Bogut was immense in the key and nailed 12 points in the opening term to give the Kings an early 17-9 lead, while Cotton's class was clear to see.
The second quarter was a topsy-turvy affair, with the Wildcats clawing level before the Kings opened up a nine-point break.
A buzzer-beating three-pointer from Clint Steindl closed the gap to six points at the break, and the Wildcats were within three points at the final change.
But Perth couldn't find their range in the final term, with the home side falling in a huge hole as the Kings pulled away..
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