Adelaide 71, Cairns 68
Thanks to a huge late three by Jason Cadee, the 36ers stunned the Cairns Taipans tonight, walking away with a well-earned 71-68 road win.
Cairns was backing up from a big win Friday against Sydney in Sydney. Adelaide was well rested and was always going to be a chance (I wasn't brave enough to pick them though). In the early stages my lack of faith was justified, with Cairns jumping out to an early lead. Aaron Grabau and Cam Tragardh were scoring at will while Adelaide struggled to find any rythym. Coach Marty Clarke had used all 10 players by quarter's end and his Sixers trailed 27-21 going into the second quarter.
The second quarter proved to be Adelaide's "horrible" term this game, getting outscored 20-8 on 3/12 shooting from the field. Clarke largely ran his bench for the term and they struggled to get anything going.
The Sixers managed to put the clamps on in the third while outscoring Cairns, winning the term 16-11. Adelaide's defense improved but Cairns did all of a sudden start missing shots it was hitting in the first half. After scoring 27 and 20 in the first two quarters, Cairns started to tire but Adelaide clearly was ramping things up also. At three-quarter time, Cairns led 58-45. An Adelaide win still looked unlikely.
In the fourth quarter Adelaide simply took over, thanks largely to key contributions from all starters
Cadee- the match-winning 3 and a key assist to Weigh to level the scores 62-62
Gibson- simply refused to lose. 10 points and 2 assists (including the pass to Cadee for the final basket). The sort of 4th quarter we've been missing from our captain of late.
Weigh- some key plays including a block on Hill and the 2 that tied scores.
Petrie- 3 rebounds and 3 points. Made his presence felt.
DJ- 6 points,3 rebounds and 2 blocks. The 2 blocks were instrumental and his size frustrated Cairns all night. 9 of the 22 fouls Cairns committed were on DJ.
Some will say this win was "no biggie" as Cairns have also had a tough season and were playing their second game in 2 days. Coming back from 18 on the road in the midst of a terrible slump cannot be scoffed at though. Getting contributions from so many too was also a huge positive. Gibson (16/4/4) was great and led him team through the fightback. DJ (17/11/1) had a forgettable night from the field (3/13) but followed up several of his misses and got fouled on the rebound. Petrie (18/8/1) had a big night, making the most of the extra court time with Schenscher out.
Tragardh (14/14) and Edwards (12/6) were probably the Taipans' best. Cairns' biggest problem was it's outside shooting, going a horrific 1/20 (5%). Edwards (0/7) was the main offender and with some of his inside work it's amazing he even bothered taking them.
The Sixers now return home and get a week to prepare for Wollongong, who hold a 2-0 lead over Adelaide this year. The Hawks will be coming off a double weekend and will be looking to keep up their impressive streak versus Adelaide.
It should be a cracker.