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R18 Preview: Cairns v Adelaide

Who: Cairns Taipans v Adelaide 36ers When: 7.30pm (AEDT), Friday 5 February Where: Cairns Convention Centre Watch: Fox Sports; Sky Sports NZ; NBL Live App Last time they met: Adelaide 88 (Randle 28, Johnson 17, Petrie 11) d Cairns 83 (Worthington 19, Weigh 17, Gliddon 13), Round 8, Cairns Convention Centre THE MATCH-UP Cam Gliddon v Adam Gibson – In the Taipans’ past three wins, Gliddon has averaged 19.7 points at 59 per cent from the three-point line, while Gibson has made 5-of-9 from range the past three games last round and will need to fire with confidence in the absence of Jerome Randle. THE STATS The 36ers are 3-2 in Cairns over the past three years, while the rest of the league is 12-26. When Gliddon has scored 16 points or more the Taipans are 6-1. Against Adelaide he hasn’t scored more than 13 points. THE STORY Cam Gliddon has matched up with Adelaide skipper Adam Gibson plenty of times in the NBL, but when he joined him in the national team he saw a new side of the Boomers veteran. “His role isn’t a 35-minute guy like it is in the NBL, with the Boomers when he plays a four-minute stint he has so much energy to give,” Gliddon said. “His full-court defence is just amazing with the pressure he can put on the ball-carrier, and then back it up with having to bring the ball up himself and get the team into offence, it was pretty good to watch.” There was something else that really stood out about Gibson. “He’s a bit of a leader in that squad, he’s been around for a while so he knows the offences inside and out and he knows the guys to get the ball to,” he added. Those two attributes will be critical for on Friday with Jerome Randle out of action and the 36ers low on confidence, but Gliddon is sure his opposite number can produce his best unless the Taipans can wear him out. “I’m sure Gibbo hasn’t been at training going half-hearted at 50 per cent, I’m sure he’s still ready to go,” he said. “It’s more that they don’t have as many guys to go to if they get in foul trouble or if you're running them off multiple picks at the defensive end to tire them out.” The Taipans’ playoffs hopes are well and truly alive after Adelaide’s blowout loss on Wednesday, Gliddon happy to admit he became a Breakers tragic for the day. “Yeah, and I was an Illawarra Hawks fan the other week,” he laughed, before getting serious again. “If we want to play playoff basketball we don’t just have to beat them, we have to beat them by a big margin, so there’s no taking it lightly here because one guy may be out.” That margin is 12 or more to claim the season series, and Gliddon vividly remembers Round 13 last season when Adelaide headed north without Jamar Wilson and prevailed 84-77, Mitch Creek with 16 points and eight boards and Gibson the mastermind with 14 assists. “They're a great team, without Randle or without Jamar they’ve still got Gibbo, they’ve still got Creek and all those other solid Aussies on the team, and then you’ve got another import in Ere who is just balling right now,” he said. THE WRAP This game will reveal much about Adelaide’s character. A bad performance first-up without Randle was understandable, if hard to watch for 36ers fans, but with three road games remaining their backs are against the wall and they must at least secure the split over Cairns. Adelaide’s passive zone defence got the Breakers going early on Wednesday, and given the versatility of Gibson, Lucas Walker, Anthony Petrie, Mitch Creek and Nathan Sobey, expect a more aggressive approach from early in this game. New Zealand forced the 36ers into a lot of one-on-one play at the other end. Few teams are more disruptive than the Taipans in Cairns, and it’s likely Gliddon, Shaun Bruce and Mark Worthington will actively test out Adelaide’s ability to withstand pressure and still execute half-court offence. Cam Tragardh hit form with 18 points last week, while Gliddon, Markel Starks and Torrey Craig have combined for 49ppg in their past three home wins. The Taipans have won five of their past six at The Snakepit, and if they ignite their ferocious crowd it could be a tough night for the 36ers.
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