NBL 2014/15 Round 2: Taipans make it two from two against United

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The Cairns Taipans have equalled their best start to a season since 2007 with a third straight victory, easily taking care of Melbourne United, 88-73.

It was a 26-13 second term that blew the match open, with the home side owning a 22-6 advantage in the paint by half-time. That number was exacerbated by Daniel Kickert’s three fouls while Auryn MacMillan and David Barlow also had to contend with foul trouble but Melbourne’s lack of offensive diversity again proved their downfall.

United took up from where they left off last weekend, living and dying by the three point line while Matt Burston had the crowd out of their seats early as he scored Cairns’ first seven points.

In their first match, 58% of Melbourne’s field goal attempts were three pointers and they threw up 7 out of 17 from long range in the first term on Friday night. They finished 9-28 with Jordan McRae nailing just 1-6 despite scoring a game high 20 points. McRae looks as though as he wants to lead the team but his eagerness is his biggest weakness at the moment. He totalled 5 turnovers and his role has left Nate Tomlinson (0 points, 2 assists) helpless on the court.

Cairns were content to collapse in the defensive paint while their patience at the offensive end continually led to good looks from the outside for Corey Maynard and Stephen Weigh as well as inside for Torrey Craig and Mitch Young. Combined with the offensive rebounding of Cam Tragardh, the Taipans had too many weapons for United to cover.

Aside from the highlight of the match when Craig (9 points) soared in for a two handed dunk on a fast break, the fourth term fizzled to a predictable end with the lead staying in double digits throughout the second half. Finishing with 15 points on 4-7 long range shooting and 5 rebounds, Weigh was superb while Cam Tragardh (18 points and 6 rebounds- 4 offensive) and Cam Gliddon (8 points, 4 boards, 3 assists, 3 steals, 1 block) stuffed the stat-sheet.

After his scintillating performance against Melbourne last weekend, Scottie Wilbeken (8 points) was kept quiet but the most positive sign for Cairns was their ten individual scorers and their 43-22 advantage in bench points.

For Melbourne, Daryl Corletto (12 points) was the only player to find success from beyond the arc, nailing 4-8. Although they only recorded 4 more turnovers as a team, United gave up a 12 point edge off those mistakes while being out-rebounded by 8.

In his first game, Stephen Dennis (4 points, 5 assists, 2 steals) played just 16 minutes and struggled to keep up with the pace of the game but expect improvement over the coming weeks as he shakes off the effects of an Achilles injury.

Despite Chris Anstey leaving the club, the on-court woes for United have remained the same and until they can find the team chemistry between their guards and a more consistent performance from their front court, the losses will stack up. Give all the credit to Cairns though, with their range of scorers proving they have a versatility that not many saw pre-season.

Cairns Taipans 88 (Tragardh 18, Weigh 15, Craig 9)

Melbourne United 73 (McRae 20, Worthington 19, Corletto 12)

@ Cairns Convention Centre