Wildcats put Tigers on the floor

If Melbourne Tigers bounce off the floor as quickly as rookie Greg Page did, then their season still has plenty of life in it. If they don't, then their 81-57 thrashing at the hands of NBL title favourites Perth Wildcats at Hisense Arena on Sunday will be the game their title challenge ended.

The third-placed Tigers struggled, making just 21 of 69 shots for 30 per cent from the field, but their day looked to be even more catastrophic when Page fell awkwardly late in the match.

The tumble looked similar to when Australian NBA star Andrew Bogut shattered his elbow. In this case, Page moved his arm out of harm's way and landed on his side, which left him winded but uninjured.

Instead of leaving the game, he took a minute and composed himself, then kept on playing. And now, his Tigers have to do the same.

Coming off two losses, the Wildcats overcame a shaky first quarter to take full advantage of the Tigers' misses and their 15 turnovers, taking an 18-point lead at half-time and then extending it in the final term.

Wildcats import Jermaine Beal top scored with 21 points despite coming off the bench, while Jesse Wagstaff scored 18 and James Ennis 16.

Mark Worthington led the Tigers with 14 points, while centre Scott Morrison grabbed 17 rebounds.

Tigers coach Chris Anstey said his players needed to respond quickly as they face second-placed Adelaide and then Perth in Perth in their next two games.

''Things just got worse and worse,'' he said. ''Take away our shooting and that second quarter … we just never got going.

''We will take this match and put it in our back pockets for two weeks' time when we play them again.

''We have seven games left to make the play-offs; by my count we need to win three or four of them.''

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