Taipans head coach Mike Kelly watches from the sideline the National Basketball League (NBL) match between the Cairns Taipans and the Perth Wildcats, held at the Cairns Convention Centre. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE.
Taipans head coach Mike Kelly watches from the sideline the National Basketball League (NBL) match between the Cairns Taipans and the Perth Wildcats, held at the Cairns Convention Centre. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE.

Taipans will take it to NBL newcomers

Last Sunday's upset of the Sydney Kings is providing the Cairns Taipans with confidence they can break even in Round 11 of the NBL against the competition's new boys.

Following Thursday's heartbreaking defeat to the defending champions in the final minutes, the now 7-8 Snakes back up against first-year club South East Melbourne Phoenix, for the first time this season on Sunday afternoon.

It is a curious scenario of the draw this season as Cairns have played Perth and Illawarra on three occasions already, but are yet to face the Phoenix.

 

Majok Deng slam dunks in the National Basketball League (NBL) match between the Cairns Taipans and the Perth Wildcats, held at the Cairns Convention Centre. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
Majok Deng slam dunks in the National Basketball League (NBL) match between the Cairns Taipans and the Perth Wildcats, held at the Cairns Convention Centre. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE

 

 

Coach Mike Kelly was proud of the way his group was locked into the scout and preparation into the Kings last Sunday, following the win over New Zealand just two days before, and believes they can do the same this weekend.

"It is a quick turnaround, but the good thing about these guys is that we have had a few of those and they have been locked in and focused on the scout," Kelly said not long after his club dropped their first game from their last four outings on Thursday night.

"Early on I was not sure because it was a new group but they did a great job last weekend going to Sydney on the back end of a double.

"It will be new information for them, but we did play them in pre-season twice - it will be different to jump out there with a new team."

Kelly is hopeful co-captain Nate Jawai will be back to full capacity on Sunday after only featuring in nine minutes on Thursday.

Jawai was on the score sheet to start the game but did not enter until the second term with the flu.

 

 

Scott Machado leaves everyone behind him in the National Basketball League (NBL) match between the Cairns Taipans and the Perth Wildcats, held at the Cairns Convention Centre. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
Scott Machado leaves everyone behind him in the National Basketball League (NBL) match between the Cairns Taipans and the Perth Wildcats, held at the Cairns Convention Centre. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE

 

 

The centre spent time away from the bench in the opening quarter as he dealt with his sickness.

Jawai did not look himself when on the court and was obviously battling.

On Thursday night at home, it was an absorbing battle for four quarters, in one of the highest quality contests the league has seen so far this season.

As they turned for home, the Snakes led by six and looked in control but a 9-0 run from Perth to open the last term shifted the momentum.

The game was in the balance with under two minutes to play as big-time performer Terrico White banked in an unlikely triple as the shot clock expired to hand the Wildcats a four-point buffer.

 

Bryce Cotton matches up against DJ Newbill in the National Basketball League (NBL) match between the Cairns Taipans and the Perth Wildcats, held at the Cairns Convention Centre. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
Bryce Cotton matches up against DJ Newbill in the National Basketball League (NBL) match between the Cairns Taipans and the Perth Wildcats, held at the Cairns Convention Centre. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE

 

 

On the next play down the court, Bryce Cotton defended DJ Newbill well to get a Perth stop and then walked into a lay-up at the other end to all but secure the victory.

Co-captain Newbill has been huge for Cairns this season but failed on a couple of attempts late to keep the hosts within touch.

A Scott Machado three with 25 seconds to play would make it a game again before the men in away white would hold on through a Cotton lay-up and pair of free-throws.

White came up big for Perth with 21 points in the 88-84 win for the Wildcats, their first in three attempts against Cairns this season.

 

 

DJ Newbill smiles and points to the scoreboard in the National Basketball League (NBL) match between the Cairns Taipans and the Perth Wildcats, held at the Cairns Convention Centre. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE.
DJ Newbill smiles and points to the scoreboard in the National Basketball League (NBL) match between the Cairns Taipans and the Perth Wildcats, held at the Cairns Convention Centre. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE.

 

 

 

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