12 February, 2021
Cairns Taipans bounce back
THE Taipans welcomed the New Zealand Breakers to the tropics this week with two games in the space of two days kicking off on Saturday afternoon.
After a disappointing first game in which the Taipans again gave up a big lead reigning NBL coach of the year Mike Kelly had to find a way to get his players to work together for 4 quarters and find that ellusive second win of the season.
Kelly showed his intent dragging Kouat Noi from the court after the first play and George Blagojevic (10 points) was brought on with Kelly demanding the team follow the game plan.
Unlike the past games the Taipans lead at every change and our star imports Scott Machado (13 points/13 assists) and Cam Oliver (8 points/13 rebounds) got the support they have been craving from the rest of the team.
Majok Deng, Kouat Noi and Fabijan Krslovic all starred helping the Taipans to their best win of the season. Post-game Mike Kelly said, ‘it feels good and a lot better than losing. I just loved the effort and energy from the guys for four quarters. It wasn’t always pretty but it was always good energy from the guys”.
Scott Machado said, ‘’I think we realized the last few games that when we lost we lost because of the fourth quarter and we needed to learn how to constantly stay the same energy in the fourth.”
Another strong crowd of 1,828 were ecstatic to get the win to bookend the first stage of the season with two wins, which saw Cairns host 7 out of their first 8 games at home. The NBL and Taipans now travel to Melbourne for the inaugural NBL cup with 36 games played and first prize of $150,000. NBL owner Larry Kestelman said, ‘The NBL cup will showcase one of the world’s best basketball leagues and provide great live entertainment”.
In other NBL news Melbourne United remain undefeated and the Perth Wildcats are struggling to find the form of last season.