Taipans out to put brakes on NBL leaders
BASKETBALL: Many have tried and most failed this season but the Taipans will have one mission on Thursday evening - stop the Adelaide 36ers' running game.
The Taipans, who have a 13-13 win-loss record - equal fourth with the Perth Wildcats - will need to overcome the minor premier South Australians to reach the NBL playoffs.
The Far North club tried to match Illawarra's running game on Friday night with disastrous results and coach Aaron Fearne hinted after the win over Perth on Sunday he would try to turn it into a grind against the 36ers.
"We are going to have to do those things well and not give up easy buckets," Fearne said.
"I feel like if we get teams in the half-court, we are pretty stingy. We make it difficult as anybody.
"It will be good to have a day on court and turn it around against Adelaide on Thursday night at home.
"We've got a big task ahead of ourselves.
"They're the best team in the league for a reason and we'll have to be on point."
Adelaide have scored the most points of any NBL club this season, 2408, and claimed the most road wins, eight, two more than any other team.
The Snakes are 0-2 against the Joey Wright-coached 36ers, with their first meeting infamous for two reasons.
The game was delayed because of a bomb scare before the Snakes fell in love with the three-point shot, as they jacked up 42 three-point attempts, a NBL record for any team in a 40-minute game.
The second meeting in the Far North saw 36ers big man Daniel Johnson have a career night, 27 points and nine rebounds.
"I guess it comes back to the way they'll guard us," Fearne said about Thursday's Round 19 contest. "They're a big time transition team."
The Taipans then travel to South Australia to play the 36ers on Saturday night in the final game of the regular season.
Adelaide 36ers (17-9), Illawarra Hawks, Melbourne United (13-13), Perth Wildcats (13-13), Cairns Taipans (13-13), Sydney Kings (13-14), NZ Breakers (13-14), Brisbane Bullets (10-17).
Thurs: Taipans v 36ers. Fri: Breakers v United (14-13), Wildcats v Kings. Sat: Hawks v Bullets; 36ers v Taipans. Sun: United v Wildcats.