29 January, 2021
Too little too late
COMING off back to back losses the Taipans welcomed preseason favorites Melbourne United to The Snag Pit. Senior coach Mike Kelly said pregame; defense and rebounding were the areas to concentrate on.
“We haven’t defended the way we need to defend to be a championship level team.”
Taipans guard Mirko Djeric called for accountability across the team.
“We all need to hold ourselves accountable, every one of us.”
Coming off a big last performance Cam Oliver started the game with two personal fouls in the first minute to prompt Mike Kelly to bring in big man Nate Jawai who controlled the space around the rim well. Melbourne United controlled play though going into the first with an 8 point lead.
United started the second strong blowing out to a 14 point lead with Jock Landale (19 points), Jo Lual-Acuil (11 rebounds) both strong performers, however the Taipans were able to get the lead back to only 2 points halfway through the quarter. Landale for United was then able to land two 3 point shots and United closed out a physical first half with a 6 point lead.
“It was almost a different game of basketball in the third,” Mike Kelly commentedpost game.
“They had a great first half and we had a great second.”
The Taipans worked as a team and defended well with Kouat Noi (4 rebounds/3 steals), Nate Jawai (4 rebounds) and Mirko Djeric (13 points) all contributing.
The Taipans went into the last 6 points down.
Another strong crowd of 1,896 were loud and helped the Taipans lift in the last with Scott Machado (19 points/6 assists) and Cam Oliver (13 rebounds/17 points) leading the way.
The team worked hard together to get within 1 point with 38 seconds left. The Snag Pit was heaving when Jack White for United was awarded 2 free throws but missed the second, rebounded by Cam Oliver giving the Taipans possession with 9 seconds to go. He passed the ball to Scott Machado who missed a chance to win the game and Melbourne United were able to remain unbeaten in season 2021.
Senior coach Mike Kelly said post game, “I loved the way the guys fought back but in the end it was too little too late.”
Final Score: Melbourne United 87 d Cairns Taipans 85
In other league news the Perth Wildcats got their season off to a winning start and Illawarra remain unbeaten.
NBL ROUND 4
Thursday February 4
Brisbane Bullets v Melbourne United, Nissan Arena
Friday, February 5
Perth Wildcats v NZ Breakers, RAC Arena Saturday,
Taipans v Brisbane Bullets, 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