• Cairns have hosted consecutive home games with overtime for the first time in their history
• The Taipans came from 12 points down to win – the first time they have won from more than four points behind this season
• It was Taipans first overtime win since December 2015 after five consecutive losses
• Melo Trimble had 32 points, five rebounds and five assists. First Taipan ever to have 32/5/5 twice in the same season
• Jarrad Weeks scored 17 points for the Bre
The Cairns Taipans responded to a 31-point thumping to win their first overtime game of the season with Melo Trimble leading them to a 106-98 win that seriously dents the playoff hopes of the New Zealand Breakers.
The Snakes returned to Cairns Convention Centre on Monday night stung by a 31-point loss to Brisbane on Saturday but the Breakers just couldn’t afford a slip up heading to the Far North with their playoff hopes hanging by a thread.
Two defensive moments summarised the Taipans grit and effort. First, they defied three attacking waves from the Breakers in the final seconds of regulation time that would have sealed the win.
Then, with the game on the line, DJ Newbill (16 points) picked the pocket of Patrick Richard allowing Bunnings Warehouse Player of the Game Melo Trimble (32 points, five rebounds, five assists) to push the lead out to four.
“We are just playing good basketball right now and I’m trying to get after it every game. We get to kill people’s dreams of getting to the finals while ours is over,” Trimble said.
“That’s a team right there that’s trying to get there and we play them again on Thursday and they are trying to get one back. We are just going to try and finish the year strong. We play other teams that are trying to get there and we just have to keep playing basketball and finish the year strong.”
Nate Jawai was taken out of the game on Saturday by the Bullets but bounced back strongly with 18 points and seven rebounds.
For the Breakers, Shawn Long finished with 20 points, nine rebounds and two blocks despite early foul trouble, while Tai Wesley also had 20 points and added six rebounds to his tally.
That frontcourt continues to deliver for New Zealand and so does former Snake Jarrad Weeks (17 points, eight assists) and Finn Delany (15 points, four rebounds) but they need more help.
The early signs weren’t good for the Taipans as Long peeled off the first seven points for his side as the Breakers opened a 9-4 lead.
Cairns gave their hardy supporters something to cheer about with an 11-0 run including three triples as Cairns led by as many as six.
It was a furious quarter and Delany cashed in with nine points of his own, steering the Breakers to a 31-26 quarter time lead – their equal biggest first quarter haul of the season.
Delany enjoyed his hot run of form in the second quarter as he drained a three-pointer and followed that up with a basket that pushed the Breakers lead out to 46-34.
Cairns’ defence was once again not up to the task and coach Mike Kelly twice hauled his troops in for timeouts in a bid to stop the rot.
Baskets started to fall for the Taipans but they were still leaking points at a rapid rate of knots and the Breakers had reached 50 with four minutes still remaining in the half.
Trailing by 12, the Taipans sparked to life with a 15-6 run as the New Zealand radar went cold.
The home side slashed at the deficit and Newbill had an opportunity a three-point play that would have levelled the scores heading into the final minutes, instead, he was charged with an offensive foul for a charge.
A reinvigorated Snakes outfit was suddenly moving the ball, sharing the rock and creating opportunities – which meant by the time the half-time siren sounded they only trailed 54-51.
The Taipans again had a chance to level proceedings in the third quarter but Jawai missed the layup opportunity and Corey Webster punished them at the other end with a three – a five-point turnaround.
When Weeks nailed a long-range effort himself, New Zealand had suddenly skipped out to an eight-point lead and taken the ascendancy once more.
But once again Cairns rallied with a six-point run of their own to again slash the deficit to just two points.
With just under two minutes left in the term, the scores were all locked up courtesy of a brace of Loe free-throws and Jawai scored the go-ahead basket off the back of a 7-0 run.
It was a lead they held going into the final quarter, edging ahead 77-76. What followed was a frenetic basket for basket affair that led to the overtime period.
The two teams do it all again on Thursday in New Plymouth.
NBL ROUND 14
CAIRNS TAIPANS 106 (Trimble 32, Jawai 18, Newbill 16)
NEW ZEALAND BREAKERS 98 (Wesley 20, Long 20, Weeks 17)