Cairns have sent the Adelaide 36ers home with nightmares after a blowout 93-67 NBL win at the Cairns Convention Centre.
In their ninth win in a row on home court, the Taipans dominated from the outset in their pace, transition play and intensity in Saturday’s contest as Tahjere McCall and Majok Deng played starring roles.
A former NBA G-League all-defensive team representative, McCall terrorised the 36ers with his reads and game sense registering five steals to go with 13 points and nine assists.
His two-man game with Deng saw his teammate score a career-high 23 points off 70 per cent shooting from the field and beyond the arc.
Stephen Zimmerman chipped in with 18 points while Keanu Pinder added 15 points as the Taipans’ liberal use of the ball allowed them to find with with 29 assists on 39 made field goals.
The home side brought up their season-high in points in less than three quarters, ballooning their lead out to 40 points late in the third quarter with Deng also outscoring his opposition 13-10 in the period.
Taipans coach Adam Forde said that was the type of performance that solidified their team identity all the while missing star point guard Scott Machado.
“It’s like everyone stepped up,” Forde said after their blowout win.
“Scott (Machado) said it in the media during the week that its not going to be one person that’s going to have to step up.
“Everyone has to contribute five or six or seven per cent more.
“No one played outside themselves, they played to their potential and they did their job and everybody’s stepped up for it and that’s how we have to be.”
It was a tough night for the 36ers who notched up 18 turnovers and were on track for their biggest defeat to the Taipans before a late surge when the benches were cleared.
“We didn’t come out with the intensity that it takes to be successful in the NBL and I think early that we didn’t match that,” 36ers head coach CJ Bruton said.
“Credit to them, they’re playing at home and they did a good job of executing on their team with a few guys down.
“I thought we had a chance to really keep them in front and take away a few things from them and clearly that wasn’t the case.”