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Perth Wildcats v Cairns Taipans Game Preview

Perth Wildcats v Cairns Taipans When: 9.30pm (AEST), Saturday 8 October Where: Perth Arena Broadcast: NBL TV; Fox Sports Taipans clicking early The talk of the NBL town after the Australian Basketball Championship was the Cairns Taipans, after they dispatched Adelaide, Brisbane and New Zealand in fine style. The Taipans showed mid-season cohesiveness despite missing guns like Mark Worthington, Travis Trice and Nate Jawai, their team basketball proving almost impossible to guard. “I wasn’t surprised by it because we’ve been practicing and playing like that all pre-season, but to beat Brisbane like we did, that was pretty big time,” captain Cam Gliddon said. “I think we’ve got a team that’s willing to give up a good shot to find a great shot and I think that showed. Everyone was around that 10-point mark if they played extended minutes and that’s how we’ve got to do it.” When it doubt put it up for an alley oop #HardBall @Adelaide36ers @CairnsTaipans https://t.co/Mp0RIP40DF — NBL (@NBL) November 27, 2015 Their pre-season form is reminiscent of the Taipans’ 2014/15 team, which made it to the NBL grand final, but Gliddon thinks this year’s team has different motivation. “This year it’s surprised me more because we didn’t retain as many players,” he said. “I think this year we just play really, really hard, we understand we’ve got that underdog tag, no one’s betting on us to do too much, and we’ve got a lot of hungry guys. “Right now we’re playing and practicing with a chip on our shoulder and that’s what’s making us great, we’re really going at each other.” Wildcats woes Perth coach Trevor Gleeson had a go at his team after their second-half capitulation in Brisbane on Thursday, only really impressed by the efforts of new import Jameel McKay and veteran Jesse Wagstaff. “I thought we had an opportunity in the third quarter to put the game away but we weren’t tough enough and we didn’t play hard enough,” he said. “(Jameel’s) workrate was fantastic for the whole game, him and I thought Jesse was battling hard too, I thought they were easily our two best players and the rest were pretty disappointing.”  

.@ShowTime_McKay bringing a little air time to the @BrisbaneEntCent ???? #Yourgame pic.twitter.com/sfMqIHECXx

— NBL (@NBL) October 6, 2016 Forward Greg Hire was equally damning. “We don’t have any star players as such, when we play together, set hard screens, make hard cuts, we’re a special group, and that’s what we did in the first half,” he said. “You saw night and day what happens in the second half when we start playing selfish basketball.” The Wildcats pride themselves on disruptive defence and rebounding, two areas they failed badly in after half-time against the Bullets, meaning the Taipans should expect a storm when they open their season at Perth Arena on Saturday. Depth charges Gliddon, however, thinks his team is well put together to weather defensive pressure because it has quality players throughout the roster. “We’ve got a really unselfish group, we’ll milk whatever we can as much as we can and then move onto the next guy,” he said. “You’ve got (Jarrad) Weeks who can run faster than anyone, Damo (Heuir) who’s come a real long way and is being aggressive to the basket. Then you’ve got Macca (Mitch McCarron) who can get 10 boards in any game. “Then you’ve got the big guys, we’ve never had two big physical presences in Nate and Nnanna (Egwu) in the same position, and then you’ve got kind of opposites at the four man in Alex (Loughton), the pick-and-pop guy and Wortho who locks down and is really aggressive. “At the three you’ve got the same thing with Fu (Edwin) who is really aggressive, gets to the rim and plays on edge, then you’ve got the cool, calm and collected Stephen Weigh who knocks down threes and plays his role. “We’ve just got a bit of everything, so I think our depth will really help us.” That depth will be needed with Weigh and Jawai not making the trip west, but that doesn’t faze Gliddon, who says it’s all about embracing the challenge of playing in front of the Red Army. “You might as well. The way I look at it, early in the year nobody’s really great so you can jump some teams if you come prepared,” he said.
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