Brisbane will have a fortnight to mull their latest missed opportunity while Perth proved they're far from satisfied after a comeback win extended their unbeaten NBL streak to five.
The Bullets led by nine points on Saturday with less than five minutes to play but, as they did against Sydney last week, wilted to lose 79-76.
The Wildcats outscored the hosts 20-8 in those final minutes, a week after Sydney scored the game's final 15 points in a comeback win.
Brisbane also lost to Tasmania a week earlier 87-85, neither team able to add to their scores in the last 2:46 of game time.
Bullets coach Justin Schueller said Perth's 17 offensive rebounds and a staggering 37-7 free throw attempts in favour of the visitors were the root of their problems.
"There's way more before just the end of this game," he said.
"The margin is three, but there's so much we could have controlled ... that we didn't get done.
"We're as good as anyone ... we just have to learn what winning looks like for 40 minutes."
The rejuvenated Perth, who outlasted Cairns on Thursday, are now 7-5 and hunting a top-two spot.
"Never satisfied," Perth coach John Rillie said.
"We've lost five games and our goal is a championship and we're building.
"You can't disrespect how you get there; the minute you relax you get slapped in the face and you're back to where we were."
Bryce Cotton doing Bryce Cotton things 🔥
We've got another nail-biter on our hands up North 👀
Catch the action live on ESPN via Kayo 📺 pic.twitter.com/ambDhJYRVO
— NBL (@NBL) November 18, 2023
Bryce Cotton (25 points, seven rebounds, three assists, three steals) hit a triple to tie the game with two minutes to play while Kristian Doolittle (21 points, nine rebounds) was influential late.
Chris Smith (23 points) put Brisbane back in front but teammate Tyrell Harrison's turnover opened the door, Keanu Pinder winning the game at the free throw line after Mitch Norton fouled him.
Both teams mustered just 13 successful triples on 50 attempts, Brisbane's usual sharpshooter Nathan Sobey (none of seven) watching many rim out before he had some joy closer to the hoop late in the game.
"When it's not pretty we don't get down," Rillie said.
"Early on in the year when things weren't going our way we let it bother us.
"It's amazing how fortune turns when you play the right way."
Schueller's men are now 5-7, but the coach is hopeful he'll have his full squad available for the first time after the FIBA competition break on December 1.
"I haven't enjoyed it at all ... but the timing of this one is a decent one for us," Schueller said of having just three games in the last three rounds.
"Definitely there's belief; this group understands how good we can be, we're just not there yet."