NBL 2014/15 Round 11: Taipans strangle lifeless Breakers in blow-out victory
The Cairns Taipans have put the NBL on notice with a crushing 83-59 defeat of the New Zealand Breakers. Cairns broke out to an early double digit lead and cruised to victory on the back of some solid all-round play.
Held to their lowest score of the season, the Breakers shot a woeful 32% from the floor, including 0/17 from downtown. They were out-rebounded 44/31 and committed 13 turnovers, most of which were unforced. Needless to say, the boxscore does not read like a recipe for success.
Lead by Cam Gliddon and his 18 points, the Taipans out-muscled and out-hustled the Breakers, who looked sluggish on the back end of their double-headed weekend. Cairns made the Breakers look very average and now hold a distinctive plus/minus advantage which could come in handy when playoff seeding is finalised.
Cairns set the tone early, with powerhouse center Matt Burston scoring 10 first quarter points in a dominant display. He punctuated his authority with a nasty dunk on Tom Abercrombie, who is not used to being put on posters. The visiting side started slowly as their tough schedule appeared to have caught up with them.
With the Breakers offense flowing like a leaky tap, Cairns started to widen the gap with the impressive Scottie Wilbekin scoring 7 points in a decisive run. The lead spread to 11 at halftime as the Breakers couldn't get into any rhythm.
Cedric Jackson and Corey Webster shot a combined 3/17 in the first half as Wilbekin and Gliddon convincingly outplayed the duo. Jackson managed to nab 5 steals, but he also gave up 5 turnovers in a frustrating display.
Heading into the fourth quarter, Cairns had a 12 point lead as the Breakers appeared to be on the brink of a blow out. Mika Vukona was the only Breaker threatening to score as he had a team high 18 points - 8 of which came from the free throw line. Vukona who is a career 58% free throw shooter has dramatically improved this season as he is now over 80% - Send his coach to Dwight!
Cairns held the Breakers to a mere 7 fourth quarter points as they put the game to rest with a series of jump shots and offensive boards. For the Breakers, who could not have played much worse, they can still be confident as although their shots weren't falling, they were still getting good shots within their offense.
The win sees the Taipans move into out-right second on the NBL ladder, whilst the loss keeps the Breakers at the top of the ladder. Round 12 has the Breakers playing the Kings on boxing day in what is shaping up to be a long day in-front of the telly. Cairns play an improving Wollongong side where a victory, coupled with a Breakers loss, would see them take the top spot.
New Zealand Breakers 59 (Vukona 18, Jackson 8, Wesley 8)
Cairns Taipans 83 (Gliddon 18, Wilbekin 15, Tragardh 13)
@ Cairns Convention Centre