News

Cairns Taipans v Melbourne United Game Preview

Cairns Taipans v Melbourne United When: 7.30pm (AEDT), Thursday 27 October Where: Cairns Convention Centre Broadcast: NBL TV; Fox Sports; Sky Sports NZ Home sweet home After three tough weeks on the road, the Cairns Taipans are more than relieved to finally get back to The Snakepit and unveil prodigal son Nate Jawai to their devoted fans. “That place will be rocking when we get there, especially for Nate’s return, so I can’t wait for that,” captain Cam Gliddon said. Of course, playing in front of an expectant home crowd isn’t much fun if you lose, and on their current trajectory that’s a real chance when Melbourne United come to town on Thursday. After doing everything but beat the Wildcats in Perth to open the season, the men in orange fell away badly late in Sydney and were blown away badly by Adelaide as their struggles from long range grew. The Taipans sit last in three-point percentage but first in long-range attempts, while their opponents are shooting 47 per cent from the field and dishing out 19.7 assists per game – both second highest in the NBL – due to so many opportunities to run off misfires from deep. Only rookie Mitch McCarron, sidelined last week, is shooting above 33 per cent from the arc as a number of proven shooters struggle. In Adelaide it was the turn of import Fuquan Edwin – a 40 per cent shooter in the NBA D-League – who went 0-for-7 on mostly wide open corner threes. “We’ve got some pretty renowned shooters it’s just not working for us, but it’s hard not to take a shot when you’re wide open,” Gliddon said. “But we’ve got to better than that and mix it up a bit more because that’s not going to get it done, that’s for sure.” Focal point Coach Aaron Fearne was more blunt, stating “we’re not going to shoot 40 threes a game, I can tell you that”. He said Jawai would become more and more of an offensive focus as his fitness and touch returned, but his big man needs to overcome similar yips as his perimeter mates. “We’ll use him obviously as a focal point,” he said. “I thought he had some good looks tonight and didn’t knock them down, got to the free-throw line and didn’t knock them down.” With their interior players starved of opportunities, Cairns rank last in points scored from one and two-point shots, averaging just 45 per game compared to 63 from their opposition. However, no one would be surprised if Jawai turn that around in his return game in front of friends and family, especially with Melbourne lacking a genuine presence on the inside. Second-year forward Majok Majok has done a man-sized job plugging his team’s interior hole, grabbing 32 rebounds in the past four games while also showing his strong defensive performance of last season was no fluke. Expect United to utilise Majok’s improving offensive game to put heat on Jawai too, especially after he scored points inside in quick bunches against Perth last Sunday, utilising his mobility from ball-screen situations. “Majok is a young player who’s getting better each time out, he’s a really important part of what we do out there,” Melbourne coach Dean Demopoulos said. Pressure point The other way to limit the effectiveness of Jawai, and force Cairns into another bevy of long bombs, is to limit supply, so expect United to go after first-year point guard Travis Trice. After a horror debut game Trice has shown promising signs in the past two games, especially when it comes to creating his own shot, but he still seems a long way from being the floor general Fearne is looking for. The Taipans coach has told his point guard to take a leaf out of Jerome Randle’s book, after the 36ers’ guard racked up 23 points and eight assists against the Cairns backcourt last weekend. “He can obviously create for himself but he can come off an on-ball and create for teammates, and Travis needs to do the same,” Fearne said. “Him getting the right balance of what we’re running, why we’re running it, who are we getting it to, how can I keep myself involved but get my teammates involved is something we’re going to have to keep working on.” Melbourne will test the undersized Trice defensively too, with the bull-strong Cedric Jackson a regular in the low post this season. “I was on a team with Gary Payton, he was one of the great post-up point guards of his era, or any era for that matter,” Demopoulos said. “Depending on the make-up of your team, the elements that are out there it can be effective, at times, and so far so good I think.” Staying afloat While coach Fearne knows facing the likes of Jackson, David Andersen, Todd Blanchfield and Ramone Moore is tough – even with Chris Goulding still likely to be sidelined – he has other things to worry about at the moment. “They’ve got a lot of talent, but I’m probably not concerned about them too much right now to be honest,” he said. “It’s probably just about getting us playing the way we had been playing in the pre-season and the way we want our club to play.” For Demopoulos, this game is about correcting some uncharacteristic play at the offensive end against the Wildcats and keeping his 3-3 team’s head above water. “We’re at sea level, but I can taste the salt,” he said. “It’s early in the year (but) I didn’t like today, I didn’t like the way it went and neither did they, my group didn’t like it either.”
FEATURE

NBL23 Way Too Early Predictions

5 hours ago

ROSTERS

Analysis: Ins, Outs, Depth Charts (Update)

7 hours ago

PODCAST

The Huddle: John Rillie

7 hours ago

NEWS

Adelaide: Franks 'On His Way'

7 hours ago

NEWS

Former NBA Guard Helps Crown King

10 hours ago

NEWS

Soares: 'NBL One of Best Leagues in World'

10 hours ago

NBL1

Noi Ready for NBL1 Finals Challenge

10 hours ago

NEWS

Tasmania's "Diamond in the Rough"

13 hours ago

NEWS

JAM TV Becomes NBL Production Partner

13 hours ago

PRE-SEASON

Darwin Blitz Open to All

15 hours ago

LaMelo Ball Leads Hawks, Taipans Beat Bullets Again

16 September 2019

Fourth Place Frustration for Boomers in China

15 September 2019

FIBA World Cup Bronze Medal Game | Australia v France Preview

15 September 2019

Prather Shines In United's Big Win, Taipans Smash Bullets

14 September 2019

Starting Five: World Cup Heartbreak

14 September 2019

Spain Again Breaks Boomers Hearts in Double OT

13 September 2019

Watch Live | Illawarra Hawks vs Melbourne United

13 September 2019

FIBA World Cup Semi-Final | Australia v Spain Preview

13 September 2019

Starting Five: Boomers Two Wins from Gold

12 September 2019

Australia Advance to World Cup Final Four

12 September 2019

NBL Partners

Naming Rights
Major Partners
Broadcast & Media Partners
Profile Partners
Suppliers
Associates