NBL 2014/15 Round 7: Childress and Cadee Crush Cairns

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The Cairns Taipans have dropped their third straight game after starting the season 6-0, unable to compete with the might of Josh Childress while Jason Cadee played a superb cameo role as Sydney prevailed 93-76.

Childress was dominant at both ends of the floor, recording 27 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists, 4 blocks and a steal. The import had played all 40 minutes in Sydney’s two previous matches and although he was only required for 37 minutes on Thursday night, his presence made all the difference.

Cairns carried the momentum into the half-time break, leading by 6 points and after Scottie Wilbeken set up Matt Burston for an alley-oop to start the third term, the Taipans looked to be rolling. However, Childress answered with three blocks for the quarter which enabled the Kings to get out in transition and hit some easy baskets. Unable to score in the paint, Cairns reverted to static isolation plays and while their offence stalled, Sydney’s flowed.

The home side won the third term 26-14. Alex Loughton and Scottie Wilbeken mounted a charge in the final term, scoring the Taipans’ first nine points but the Kings were never headed as they completed their second half dominance with a 26-15 fourth quarter.

Childress began his night from the free throw line and that theme continued throughout the game as he finished 10-13 from the charity stripe. There was no home team bias from the umpires, Sydney were simply more desperate to get to the rim and they finished with 28 free throw attempts to Cairns’ 4 while out-scoring them by 22.

Those free throws kept the game in a slow grind for the first ten minutes, with both sides looking to cement their authority in the paint. Angus Brandt scored both of his early buckets from offensive rebounds while Cairns’ high-low action allowed Matt Burston (10 points) to hit the scoreboard.

The pace picked up in the second term as Torrey Craig was unleashed into the contest. His ferocious attack on the boards and intent in the open court gave him 7 points and 5 rebounds by the main break.

With Childress resting, Cadee took over the scoring duties for Sydney and was equally impressive, scoring 10 off the bench with a series of mid-range jumpers. He tied the match mid-way through the second term but at the other end, the defensive attention given to Craig freed up Wilbeken.

The Cairns point guard caught fire late, scoring 7 of the Taipans’ last 10 points to give the visitors their handy half-time lead. He was no match for the other big name import in the second half though, despite finishing with 21 points and 5 assists.

The Taipans had shot just 24% from the three point line in their past three matches and although Cam Gliddon (3-6 for 9 points) was hot early, the misses piled up as they finished 9-24. Teams will continue to go under the screens and let them bomb away from deep until they can prove their worth from beyond the arc.

Craig’s explosiveness is pivotal to the success of Cairns but he must be able to sustain the energy for the entire game. He added just 2 boards after an exciting first half while Cam Tragardh (8 points) was also quiet.

Aside from Childress and Cadee, Ben Madgen (17 points) was impressive for Sydney, hitting 7-7 from the free throw line. Kendrick Perry (7 points) had another forgettable night and was scoreless at half-time but with a win, his performance will be scrutinised less.

Sydney head out on the road for a double-header next round and although they are 1-2 away from home this season, the form of Childress is a ominous sign for any opposition. Cairns have a chance to end their losing streak against bottom placed Wollongong on Saturday night.

Sydney Kings 93 (Childress 27, Cadee 18, Madgen 17)

Cairns Taipans 76 (Wilbeken 21, Burston 10, Gliddon 9)

@ Qantas Credit Union Arena