5 February, 2021
Cairns Taipans: Snakes fall short against the Bullets
IN this COVID affected season the Taipans became the first team in NBL21 to compete both at home and away when they travelled to Brisbane for an all Queensland clash against the Brisbane Bullets.
IN this COVID affected season the Taipans became the first team in NBL21 to compete both at home and away when they travelled to Brisbane for an all Queensland clash against the Brisbane Bullets. The Taipans have had to deal with strict protocols as well as being away from interstate/international family, constant change to the schedule and a looming bubble which will mean even further isolation away from family members. For many players and staff this includes their young children.
The Taipans started the game brilliantly with Majok Deng (15 points) staring and a defensive effort across the team which has been missing. The Taipans shook off their reputation as slow starters posting the highest first half score (55 points) of NBL21 and entered the main break with a 15 point lead.
Brisbane came out of half time a lot more competitive and the ‘Sunshine Stoush’ lived up to its name when all players got involved in a heated push and shove. Mike Kelly and team manager Brett Havercroft ran off the bench to regain control. The Taipans entered the last with an 11 point lead.
The Bullets fought hard to reel in the lead with Nathan Sobey (30 points/5 assists) and Victor Law (29 points/11 rebounds) strong contributors ending out regulation time tied at 90 points each.
Overtime saw end to end basketball with the lead changing several times. Jarrod Kenny (9 points/5 rebounds/4 assists) and Scott Machado (23 points/10 assists) starred with Machado nailing a 3 pointer tying it up with eight seconds to go. Brisbane got possession and Victor Law slammed home a 2 point dunk to see the Bullets win a truly remarkable game of basketball.
Post-game senior coach Mike Kelly praised Jarrod Kenny for standing up after Cam Oliver (21 points) and Majok Deng both fouled out late saying, ‘I think JK did what is expected of him all the time which is play hard and defend’.
Taipans guard Scott Machado lamented the team’s inability to close the game out. When asked about leading the team Machado said, ‘I expect a lot from all of them and I put us out there to be one of the best teams in the league’.
In other league news Melbourne United won their hometown derby against the Phoenix and Illawarra remain unbeaten on top of the ladder.
NBL ROUND 4
Friday February 5
Brisbane Bullets v Melbourne United, Nissan Arena Saturday,
Cairns Taipans v NZ Breakers Snag Pit
Adelaide 36ers v Kings, Adelaide Entertainment Centre
SEM Phoenix v Hawks, State Basketball Centre
Melbourne United v Perth Wildcats, Bendigo Stadium
Monday, February 8
Cairns Taipans v NZ Breakers, Snag Pit