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Game Report

Snakes Turn It On To Move One Step Closer

The Cairns Taipans have taken another significant step towards what would be a remarkable NBL finals appearance after Saturday night's 108-91 smackdown of the Adelaide 36ers at Cairns Convention Centre.


The Snakes were in charge all night for a complete wire-to-wire masterclass of three-point shooting, as four Snakes drained three triples or more and the team went 16/35 from downtown, including an unconscious 7/9 third term.


Cairns now holds a 13-10 record with a strong points percentage, but have just a single home game remaining – against Illawarra in Round 18.


That does have them two wins ahead of the chasing pack but when you factor in in the four road games and that they are yet to beat the Hawks in #NBL20, and nobody at the Taipans will be counting their chickens just yet despite the Orange Army loving everything about their exciting outfit.


While a win would have been significant for Adelaide, the 36ers remain right in the race for a playoff spot at 11-12 with three home games remaining. But all five games are up against teams with their seasons still alive.


In the end, the difference between the two teams was that the Taipans played exactly like that, a cohesive team unit, with a host of strong contributors while too much was left to Daniel Johnson and Jerome Randle for Adelaide.


Cairns was led by co-captain DJ Newbill’s 28 points on 11/16 shooting (6/7 from downtown), while receiving ample backup from imports Cameron Oliver (24 points, 15 rebounds) and Scott Machado (21 points and nine dimes).


Mirko Djeric hit three triples on his way to 11 points while Jarrod Kenny had a remarkable purple patch late in the third term where he knocked down three long bombs. His third on the buzzer as Harry Froling flailed away and fell as he shot while unbalanced summed up his, and the Taipans, night as he finished with 11 points.


Coach Mike Kelly said his side separated itself from their previous performances with their ability to repel Adelaide’s runs.


"I loved a lot about [the win] but the best thing was the energy, and then when Adelaide came back, the guys came back with great energy again," he said.


"I think the buys were better tonight than over the last, whatever we’ve won – six of seven over this last little patch. It wasn’t just winning, it was just the way the guys played."


Adelaide had a vintage night from Daniel Johnson, in fact a career-best night, with the 318-game veteran dropping 38 points on just 20 shots and eight rebounds.


Jerome Randle was a single stat shy of a triple-double with 21 points, nine rebounds and 10 assists.


Sixers coach Joey Wright lamented his side’s poor start, which had the Snakes in a groove from the start.


"We were playing catch-up the whole game. [Cairns’] first 17 points, we only stopped a couple of times; they scored every time… just got to come out with more intensity and play better D early," Wright said.


"Proud of them that they fought back and got it close. We had about five guys switched on; six guys at the most switched on, and they were willing to fight back and get it close, but we just didn’t have enough."


Cairns burst out of the blocks with Newbill’s craft and Djeric’s long ball gapping the Sixers 9-2 after just two minutes.


Bigs Johnson and Oliver traded buckets, but Cairns quickly went on a 12-0 run through the middle of the first term to hold a 24-11 lead.


Newbill was unstoppable from the outside with Nate Jawai (nine points, four rebounds, two assists) on the interior, as the Snakes went again. This time a 9-0 run to take a 36-18 just a minute into the second term.


Adelaide pegged it back to 11 points by half-time, but the resistance was futile as Cairns continued to fill it up, extending the break to 14 with a quarter to play and cruising to the 17-point win.


Cairns is at Melbourne Arena for their final clash with South East Melbourne this season next Sunday, while Adelaide’s season will be defined by how they are at home to Brisbane on Saturday.


NBL ROUND 16


CAIRNS TAIPANS 108 (Newbill 28, Oliver 24, Machado 21)

 

ADELAIDE 36ERS 91 (Johnson 38, Randle 21, Froling 8)


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