Perennial NBL contenders Perth are the only team to emerge from the opening round with two wins after ending the league’s record run of first-week home losses in emphatic fashion.
A rare quadruple-overtime marathon, Andrew Bogut’s eagerly awaited NBL debut and a competition-record opening round aggregate attendance of 48,820 fans were among the highlights.
It was the third-highest attendance for an NBL round since It started in 1979.
The Wildcats smashed Illawarra 101-61 in Perth in front of 12,853 spectators on Sunday after visiting sides won the the opening six games of the season for the first time in NBL history.
Perth, aiming for a 33rd straight finals appearance, won 99-91 at Adelaide on Thursday, with reigning league MVP Bryce Cotton scoring 22 for the Wildcats.
New Perth import Terrico White bagged 20 points in both of their games.
Of the six teams to play twice in the first round, four split their games and Illawarra were the only club to lose twice.
Defending champions Melbourne United joined the list of vanquished home teams on Sunday when they lost 88-81 to New Zealand after leading by 12 in the first quarter.
Former United player Tai Wesley scored 25, while Chris Goulding bagged 22 for Melbourne.
Boomers guard Goulding was coming off a 23-point haul in Melbourne’s 123-122 win over Illawarra on Friday in only the second quadruple-overtime game in the NBL.
The Hawks’ Todd Blanchfield hit a game-high 26 points in his first match for them and centre AJ Ogilvy grabbed 21 rebounds, while American centre Josh Boone top-scored for Melbourne with 24.
Brisbane, who finished bottom in their first two seasons back in the competition, triggered the unusual trend of away dominance with a 86-73 win over the Breakers in the opening game on Thursday.
Cam Gliddon scored 29 points on his Bullets debut.
But Brisbane’s joy was short-lived as they crashed 88-70 on their home court to Queensland rivals Cairns.
Import Melo Trimble scored 32 points, the most by any Taipans player in his opening game, while Mike Kelly became the first Cairns NBL coach to win on debut.
Adelaide rebounded from their opening game loss two days later, when all eyes turned to Sydney, where former NBA No.1 draft pick and Golden State Warriors championship winner Bogut played his first NBL game for the Kings.
A crowd of 10,761 watched Adelaide outscore Sydney 19-2 down the stretch to record a 94-83 victory.
Bogut struggled offensively scoring just six points on two of nine shooting but compensated in other areas with game highs of 14 rebounds and four blocks, and also provided four assists.
Guard Jerome Randle hit a match-high 28 for Sydney but Daniel Johnson and Nathan Sobey starred for Adelaide across both of their opening-round games.
Johnson logged 23 points and 11 rebounds against Perth and 22 and 10 against Sydney, while Sobey tallied 22 and 21 points against the Wildcats and Kings respectively.