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GAME REPORT

DJ Hits 33 as Sixers Beat Taipans in OT

The Adelaide 36ers and Cairns Taipans put on an overtime show for the crowd in Tasmania to open their NBL Blitz campaigns on Sunday with Daniel Johnson's 33 points in the end leading the Sixers to a 91-87 victory.

Both teams are coming into the #NBL22 season with new coaches with CJ Bruton beginning his life as a head coach with the 36ers on the back of his legendary 516-game, six-time championship winning playing career while Adam Forde gets a second crack with the Taipans after being with the Sydney Kings.

There are plenty of fresh faces on either side as well so that added extra intrigue to their opening clash at the NBL Blitz at MyState Bank Arena in Tasmania on Sunday, and in the end four quarters wasn’t enough to separate them.

The 36ers did threaten to blow the game open during the second quarter with Daniel Johnson putting up 16 points in the first half and Philippine sensation Kai Sotto showing exciting signs including a spectacular drive and dunk move.

However, the Taipans managed to get the lead back to six by half-time and go on a 21-4 run either side of the break to assume the advantage against a 36ers team minus imports Dusty Hannahs and Todd Withers along with former NBA big man Isaac Humphries and Next Star Mojave King.

The lead continued to fluctuate throughout much of the second half before Adelaide did appear to have the edge in the final minute. Cairns wouldn’t lie down, though, and a last second goaltending call on a Stephen Zimmerman putback saw the game go to overtime.

Johnson hit the first five points of overtime to break through the 30-point barrier and ultimately that would be enough for the Sixers to secure the four-point victory to begin life under Bruton in winning fashion.

Neither team had the shooting game they would be hoping for with the Taipans going at 37 per cent from the field while hitting 10/31 at 32 per cent from deep, and the 36ers hitting 43 per cent from the field and making 6/29 at 20 per cent from the land of plenty.

However, the 36ers got to the foul line six more times than the Taipans, won the rebound count and ultimately did enough for the win.

Missing some of their biggest weapons in imports Hannahs and Withers along with Humphries and King, Daniel Johnson took it upon himself to dominate for the 36ers finishing with 33 points, eight rebounds and three assists on the back of shooting 12/25 from the field and 7/7 from the field.

Former Taipan Tad Dufelmeier showed he could flourish in Adelaide with 14 points, five rebounds and three steals while connecting on both of his three-point attempts. Another new face, Manny Malou put up nine points and five rebounds with some especially big scores when it mattered most.

Kai Sotto got the start in the five spot for Adelaide and delivered seven points and five rebounds while Sunday Dech finished with seven points, five rebounds and four assists, Cam Bairstow eight points and 11 boards, and Nick Marshall seven points and five rebounds.

The Taipans were without Nate Jawai but just about at full strength outside of that with Stephen Zimmerman offering an impressive first up showing down low. The left-hander put up 18 points and 11 rebounds.

Majok Deng showed he's ready to fire in #NBL22 too with 18 points and seven rebounds while Tahjere McCall contributed 16 points and eight boards, Scott Machado 12 points and five assists, and Keanu Pinder 11 points and nine rebounds against his former team.

Both teams are in action again on Tuesday with the 36ers playing the Perth Wildcats and the Taipans facing the Tasmania JackJumpers.

HUNGRY JACK'S NBL BLITZ

ADELAIDE 36ERS 91 (Johnson 33, Dufelmeier 14, Malou 9) 

CAIRNS TAIPANS 87 (Zimmerman 18, Deng 18, McCall 16)

BOX SCORE 

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