NBL 2014/15 Round 15: Cairns eye top spot with victory over Kings
A polished performance from Taipans big man Matt Burston has given his side a massive boost in the race for the regular season premiership as the Cairns Taipans were triumphant over the Sydney Kings 80-76 at the Cairns Convention Centre on Saturday night.
Burston turned in one of his best games of the season as he dominated the Kings' front court in just the 25 minutes he was on the floor, going for 21 points on 8-11FG shooting, tallying four rebounds and four steals in the process.
His up-tempo work ethic set the game up for the Snakes as it was he who was involved early in the game. Two quick steals in the opening two minutes had the game in the home side's favour as the first quarter lead stretched out to as much as seven.
Burston was joined by his captain Cameron Gliddon who was at his best once again after struggling in recent weeks. His jack-of-all-trades ability came into play when Gliddon finished the game with 14 points, five rebounds, four assists and a pair of steals.
Despite another off-par shooting night, Scottie Wilbekin stepped up again in other areas, while his free throw shooting kept him out of a scoring slump. 18 points and eight assists keeps Wilbekin in the discussion as one of the league's best point guards.
In what was a four point loss in the end for the Kings, it certainly didn't feel like it was that close of a game. With the Taipans in control for most of the contest, the final scoreboard reflects a little better in the Sydney camp than it probably should.
Alas, Josh Childress recorded his ninth double double of the season finishing with 16 points and 10 rebounds. While at times it felt as though he was playing a lone hand, there were patches in the game where his teammates attempted to get involved.
Tommy Garlepp (14 points, 6 rebounds), Cody Ellis (18 points) and Ben Madgen (11 points) were the only others to reach double figures, with Ellis firing very late with a pair of triples to make the margin look respectable.
For the Kings, it was the second time in a week where coach Damian Cotter elected to start Kendrick Perry over Jason Cadee, with the former looking to ascertain himself again into the starting line-up. However, despite an improved showing in Friday night's clash against the Crocs, Perry only managed eight points and three dimes despite being relatively efficient.
Both teams now have the rest of the week to ponder their thoughts and focus on the task at hand next week. Sydney could quite possibly face the toughest road-home double in the competition- a trip to New Zealand before coming home to host the red hot Adelaide 36ers.
For Cairns, they look to continue their strong run of form with a home game against the defending champions Perth Wildcats.
Cairns Taipans 80 (Burston 21, Wilbekin 18, Gliddon 14)
Sydney Kings 76 (Ellis 18, Childress 16, Garlepp 14)
@ Cairns Convention Centre