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Prather stars as Wildcats beat Melbourne

AAP logoAAP 9/12/2016 Brad Elborough

Casey Prather produced a season-best performance to guide the Perth Wildcats to a much-needed 92-89 win over Melbourne United at Perth Arena on Friday night.

The Wildcats overcame a barnstorming finish by Melbourne to snap a four-game losing streak on the back of 39 points from Prather.

The win also moved them back into the NBL's top four, even though they started the game in last place.

It was an outstanding performance by Praher, who made it a double-double by grabbing 11 rebounds and five assists before fouling out late in the fourth quarter.

His previous best for the season was the 29 points he scored against the New Zealand Breakers in round two, but when he sat down just before three-quarter-time on Friday night, he already had 30.

Melbourne went into the game with consecutive wins over Cairns, Sydney and New Zealand and were a chance of extending their streak right to the end.

With 10 seconds to go they trailed by only one point after a Casper Ware three, they had trailed by 15 points with only four minutes to go.

Ware, whop played for Philadelphia in the 2014 NBA season has averaged 22 points a game since joining the league and the 38 he scored against the Cats took his tally to 104 points in just four games.

He dropped eight of 19 three-pointers.

Chris Goulding, with 13 points, also caused the Cats headaches, especially in the first half.

Melbourne suffered a blow early in the game, when Boomers veteran David Andersen had to be helped from the court with a knee injury, after he collided with Perth's Greg Hire.

That happened less than three minutes into the game and the Melbourne big man didn't return and it hurt Melbourne on the glass at both ends of the court.

The Cats were able to dominate the boards, finishing with a 45-32 advantage.

Late in the game the loss of Andersen really started to take its toll as an energetic Wildcats team dominated the boards.

Perth now settle in for a stretch of five away games and start it across the Tasman when they play the Breakers in Auckland on Thursday; while Melbourne travels to Sydney to play the Kings on Sunday.

Melbourne coach Dean Demopoulos said he wasn't aware of the extent of Andersen's injury and while his loss didn't help, it's not an excuse for the defeat.

"It didn't help, but it's next man up in this business. We all feel very badly that he got injured, but we have other players who can play," he said.

"I thought we waited a little long to play defence. But I give them credit; they outplayed us... got every loose ball and out-rebounded us."

Perth coach Trevor Gleeson said he was pleased that toughness and intensity had returned to his side's game.

"Tonight was a strong performance, playing tough and with intensity and they threw some big punches in the first quarter with those threes - Goulding was on fire; Ware was on fire," Gleeson said.

"If that had have been a couple of weeks ago we would have dropped the bundle and been down by 10 points.

"To have that resilience; we haven't had it the past four games. It's great to have it back."

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