BRISBANE coach Andrej Lemanis got the response he demanded from the Bullets, who defied a growing injury list to bounce back from their worst performance of the NBL season with a 93-76 home win over the Cairns Taipans on Saturday night.
Embarrassed in their 97-59 away loss to Melbourne United on Boxing Day, the Bullets went toe-to-toe with the Taipans for three quarters before outscoring their Queensland rivals 29-15 in final 10 minutes to improve their record to nine wins from 19 games.
The Taipans were also coming off a loss to United, going down by one point at home on Thursday night.
But despite a game-high 20 points from Travis Trice, Cairns suffered its 10th defeat in 17 matches in another blow to its hopes of contesting the playoffs.
"The group really united during the course of the week,” Lemanis said.
"To be able to wear teams down over the course of 40 minutes is the idea. That was reflected in the effort we gave at the defensive end.”
On the back of a 19-point haul from Daniel Kickert, the Bullets were also able to overcome the disappointing news earlier on Saturday that power forward Anthony Petrie would be joining Cameron Bairstow on the sidelines for the rest of the season.
Petrie, 33, has cartilage damage in his left knee and will have season-ending surgery this week.
The setback comes less than two week after Olympian Bairstow was also ruled out for the remainder of Brisbane's 2016-2017 campaign with an anterior cruciate ligament injury to his left knee.
"That's sport. If we'd had the conversation before the season and you said to me 'do you think you're going to have some challenges this year and some players are going to get injured and you're going to have to adjust some things', I'm pretty sure my response would have been 'yes, that's what happens over the course of a season',” Lemanis said.
Taipans coach Aaron Fearne was disappointed with Cairns's final-quarter effort and would not use the team's short turnaround between matches as an excuse for their fade out.
"That can't be an issue. Every team's got to be able to do it and you've got to be able to back up and you've got to be able to play and you've got to be able to perform,” Fearne said.
In Saturday's earlier game, the Perth Wildcats upset the Illawarra Hawks 95-87 at the WIN Entertainment Centre.