With the scores locked at 87 a piece after Jamar Wilson had just scored on a tough jumpshot, Adelaide called timeout. Everyone in the building knew either Gary Ervin or Daniel Johnson would be taking that last shot.
There were 23 seconds left on the clock, giving Adelaide plenty of time and the ability to go for broke with overtime pending if they couldn't score. Ervin received the inbounds and worked down the clock, looking to create some room for the inevitable drive to the hoop. When Gliddon and Loughton switched on a pick and roll, Ervin was being guarded by Loughton and the basket was created. Ervin sliced to the basket, laid the ball up and got Adelaide out of jail yet again.
Cairns jumped out to a 7-2 lead before Adelaide went on an 8-0 run, with 6 of those coming from DJ. Johnson looked ominous early, finding plenty of room and the Taipans unable (again) to handle his array of moves inside. It remained tight for the rest of the period with Cairns clinging to a 23-22 lead at quarter time.
Mitch Creek led Adelaide's charge in the second, scoring 7 straight before Ervin and Johnson started getting back in on the act. The smaller lineup of Ervin/Gibson/Frye/Creek/Johnson led Adelaide from a 33-37 deficit to a 49-45 lead. A Gary Ervin 3 gave Adelaide a 54-48 lead at the half.
After a free-flowing second quarter the game turned into an arm wrestle in the third with Adelaide winning the quarter 13-12. It didn't score from the 7:37 mark to the 4:19 mark as it's offense stalled (again) against a 2-3 zone. It was Adelaide 67-60 going into the last quarter.
With 7:30 left in the game Adelaide was up by nine before the tide turned. Clint Steindl found his range, hitting two big threes around a Mitch Young bucket to get it back to 78-73. With 2:23 left and Adelaide leading 81-75, Cairns took a timeout and came out to hit the next two baskets, highlighted by a Jamar Wilson shot that came as he was falling backwards to have it at 85-83.
The rest is history.
It was a gallant effort by both teams who stuck to running just 8 players. Cairns did well to get so close after making their way back from Perth in less than 24 hours after the brutal Cairns to Perth flight. The team looks much more balanced of late and it will be interesting how they work Tragardh back into the rotation. Adelaide was just as impressive, dealing with 2 injuries sustained at training this week and a Taipans team that has recorded some big road wins of late.
Adelaide will need to get it's road game clicking too, with 2 testing weekends ahead. Next weekend it's up against Wollongong Sunday before a brutal Perth/Melbourne road double the following weekend.
Adam Gibson- It feels like Adelaide normally wins when he puts up those sorts of numbers (10/6/8). Fed DJ for loads of baskets in a very unselfish performance.
Gary Ervin- Hit the game winner, some key threes and also tallied 6 assists. Why he's here.
Jarrid Frye- Free throw woes are affecting him badly as he's avoiding contact on drives, resorting more and more to floaters and baby hooks. Sixers need him aggressive and hitting free throws before someone really starts exposing him.
Anthony Petrie-Reasonably quiet in this one, largely due to DJ's big night out.
Daniel Johnson- Career night for points and possibly world record for ally-oop finishes (sadly not dunk ones though). Punished Cairns yet again.
Mitch Creek- Great again, hustling and creating something from nothing. Needs to mirror home performances on the road to go to the next level.
Brendan Teys-Most minutes for a while. Struggled to have an impact but team didn't suffer when he was on either.
Luke Schenscher-Got in foul trouble early and struggled to get going. Luckily DJ was having a massive night out.
|Points from Turnovers: 12 Points in the Paint: 46 Second Chance Points: 10 Fast Break Points: 0|