Phoenix beat Bullets in finals race boost

·2-min read

South East Melbourne Phoenix are in sight of a maiden NBL finals appearance after crushing top-four aspirants Brisbane Bullets 95-66 at Nissan Arena.

The Phoenix cruised to a club record-equalling fourth straight victory on Saturday night after restricting a disappointing Bullets to just 24 second-half points - including only 10 in the third quarter - to maintain third spot with an 18-14 record.

At one stage, the Melbourne outfit led by 35 but ultimately fell short of eclipsing their club record win, the 32-point rout of Illawarra Hawks at Wollongong on April 1.

Brisbane were no doubt confident of keeping their top-four plans on track after reeling in an 18-point deficit to upset defending champions Perth Wildcats 91-88 on their home court on Wednesday.

Yet it remains to be seen whether the Bullets can recover and seal a playoff berth after suffering their biggest loss in their two seasons on their home court to slump to a 14-16 record with six games left.

With the top two spots locked up by Melbourne and Perth, Brisbane sit sixth on a congested table behind Phoenix, fourth-placed Illawarra Hawks (16-15) and No.5-ranked Sydney Kings (16-16).

Phoenix's defence clicked on Saturday night, restricting recent Boomers' squad addition Nathan Sobey to just four points (1-7 shooting from the field).

It marked the first time this season that Sobey, the league's second leading scorer, has not reached double figures, snapping a run of 36 straight games.

Phoenix's offence wasn't too bad either, with all but one player on their 11-strong rotation scoring, led by Yanni Wetzell (18 points, nine rebounds) and Kyle Adnam (16pts).

For the Bullets, Anthony Drmic dropped 20 points, including 18 in the first half, while import Lamar Patterson had 11 points.

Phoenix coach Simon Mitchell, who recently re-signed for another season, was proud of his team after ensuring a runaway win with a blow-out third quarter but was not getting too carried away with finals talk.

The Bullets won't have much time to regroup as they host ladder leaders Melbourne United on Monday night.

Four of their remaining six games feature opponents higher than them on the ladder, including two more clashes with the Phoenix.

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