Cairns open up gap at top of NBL

Surprise early season NBL pacesetters Cairns have opened up an imposing lead after an astonishing come from behind win and stumbles from some of their rivals.


The Taipans (6-0) trailed Sydney (1-3) by 17 late in the third quarter in Cairns on Saturday.

They then outscored the Kings 38-9 for the rest of the game to score a memorable 74-62 win.

Perth (3-2) and New Zealand (4-3) each won earlier in the round, but both missed a chance on Sunday to close the gap.

Each lost on the road, with Perth thumped 102-80 at Townsville (3-3), while the Breakers lost 93-86 at Adelaide (3-2).

Boomers guard Adam Gibson scored an NBL personal career-best 34 points in the 36ers win.

Gibson got 15 points from free throws and his 19 attempts from the charity stripe were seven more than the entire Breakers team.

In Sunday’s other game, a 32-point haul from American guard Jordan McRae helped propel Melbourne (2-3) to an 88-75 home win over hapless Wollongong (1-7), who have lost seven straight.

Boomers guard Adam Gibson scored a personal career-best 34 in Adelaide’s 93-86 home win over New Zealand.

Earlier in the round New Zealand (4-3) scored an 84-70 home win over Townsville, and Perth won 83-64 at Wollongong, who replaced big man David Gruber with guard Rhys Martin earlier in the week.

In Cairns, it was another even scoring effort from the Taipans, with no individual contributing more than 15 points.

“That’s a really good character win at this time of the year,” Cairns coach Aaron Fearne said.

Fearne conceded complacency could be a concern for Cairns.

“It’s got to be human nature,” Fearne said.

“The challenge is to flush out what’s happened and then refocus and lock into training and really be diligent with our preparation each week going into a new game.”

It was a third straight loss for Sydney (1-3).who were coming off a mauling by Perth and were without suspended import Josh Childress.

“I’m proud of my blokes, they’ve had a lot of shit to deal with this week,’ Kings coach Damian Cotter said.

“They’ve buckled down and they played together, they deserved more.

“We let a good one slip though our fingers, we’re very disappointed. There was one massive momentum swing and we didn’t handle it well.”