NBL 2014/15 Round 19: Cairns show no sign of cooling off
The Cairns Taipans have extinguished another disappointing display from Melbourne United en route to an 84-62 victory at the Cairns Convention Centre on Friday night.
After what loomed to be an enticing contest after a tight and interesting first quarter, Cairns seemed to be the only team to come out of the quarter time huddle.
Torrey Craig was the human highlight reel, which included a wonderful alley-oop in the first quarter, only to be backed up by an incredible circus shot to beat the quarter time buzzer. Craig finished the game with 21 points and nine rebounds on an impressive 9-14FG.
He was backed up by his teammates as Scottie Wilbekin had his eye for the basket, scoring 17 points on 70% shooting. While Wilbekin may have finished without an assist, back-up guard Shaun Bruce played provider as he finished with eight assists which included seven in the first half.
Melbourne's offence was arguably still on the plane coming in to Cairns, with their story summed up by their first complete offensive possession; a blown open lay-up from Nate Tomlinson.
The Taipans had the jump on their opponents early with a 7-0 to start the game, forcing coach Darryl McDonald was forced to call an early time-out.
Melbourne were then able to create a 15-0 run of their own which created frustration within the building including a technical foul on coach Aaron Fearne.
However, following this spurt, Melbourne found nothing in their repertoire that was to be effective against a stinging Cairns defence.
Daniel Kickert led the team with 17 points, while only grabbing a solitary rebound. Jordan McRae found a spark early before fading out of the game for 15 points and three blocks.
There was an internal battle going on throughout the contest, as Mitch Young and Mark Worthington felt like trading blows along with words and it was Young who came out on top mostly thanks to his timely back to back three point plays late in the third quarter. Those six quick points escalated the lead right out to a 20 point margin.
Worthington's hussle certainly didn't go unnoticed, however his 11 points and eight rebounds not enough to create enough friction.
Melbourne had no where to hide in the final quarter, who ended up shooting 27+ feet jump shots while Cairns were able to score in the paint time and time again.
McRae then topped the cake on United's disappointing evening with a technical foul after yet another blown offensive possession to sum up the night.
BONUS: Cairns' victory all but sums up their top spot on the NBL ladder. Is this the 'Year of the Taipan'?
Cairns Taipans 84 (Craig 21, Wilbekin 17, Weigh 10)
Melbourne United 62 (Kickert 17, McRae 15, Worthington 11)
@ Cairns Convention Centre