The honeymoon period for South East Melbourne has been ended in sensational fashion by the NBL's reigning champions Perth.
The Phoenix hit a Wildcats defensive roadblock and came off second best in a 110-79 loss at the RAC Arena on Friday night.
Nick Kay was outstanding, especially early, with 12 points and 13 rebound, his first double-double for the season.
The Wildcats shared the scoring, with six players reaching double figures, led by Terrico White's 17 points.
Having averaged 103.3 points in three wins to start their new journey, the Phoenix shooting was off-target early in the 31-point loss.
A week after John Roberson starred with a double-double (26 points, 10 assists) in their third win against Illawarra, he was kept scoreless at halftime by Wildcats captain Damian Martin.
Jaye Crockett top scored for the visitors with just 12 points.
Wildcats coach Trevor Gleeson highlighted his captain's performance in the victory.
"Defensively, I thought we were first class," he said.
"To hold those guys to 13 points in the first quarter set the tone for the rest of the game.
"Damo has won (NBL's best defensive player) six times and in my opinion he's still the best defender out there. He set the tone. We had good input from everybody."
The Phoenix fought back from that slow start to be within eight points midway through the second term, but the Cats went on an impressive 13-0 run just before the main break to hold a 23-point lead at halftime.
Phoenix coach Simon Mitchell said he knew Perth would pose a difficult challenge.
"I was really excited about coming in here because it's the toughest environment there is," he said.
"I knew what we were going to get and I wanted to see how we could withstand it.
"During the course of the game, I was still looking for us to make improvements of how we withstood the pressure that was put on us.
"At this stage, we're a team that is looking at making improvements."
Perth will look for a third consecutive win when they travel to play Illawarra on Sunday; when the Phoenix will be in action at home against Adelaide.