12 Nov 2016

Breakers bitten by snakes

8:10 am on 12 November 2016

The Cairns Taipans have ended the Breakers' three-match NBL winning streak with a gritty 86-79 win in Auckland.

The visitors timed their run perfectly, trailing until the last quarter before powering away 27-17 for just their second victory this season on the road.

Mika Vukona playing against Cairns.

Mika Vukona playing against Cairns. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The win was set up by an uncompromising, well-organised defensive effort, and finished in style by skipper Cameron Gliddon with a game-high 25 points, with Mark Worthington (17) and Fuquan Edwin (14) providing the back-up.

Gliddon was lethal from long range, sinking five from six three-pointers, while also shooting four from five from the field.

Tom Abercrombie led the Breakers' scoring with 18, closely followed by Corey Webster (17) and Kirk Penney (16) while Mika Vukona dominated the boards with 10 rebounds.

The Taipans were deadly accurate from the free-throw line, converting 15 from 18.

They opened the first quarter with an 8-0 streak, before the Breakers started to fire, sparked by back-to-back Abercrombie efforts, to lead 22-17 going into the first break.

The Taipans proved dogged in defence and efficient on transition as the second quarter progressed, the Breakers struggling to find their usual precision in attack.

Cairns took the spell 22-18 to narrow the Breakers' lead to 40-39 at halftime but, although they controlled the tempo through the third stanza, the Kiwis edged fractionally ahead to lead 62-59 at the three-quarter mark.

Cairns opened the final quarter with a whirlwind Nate Jawai dunk, then hit the front courtesy of a Gliddon three-point jump shot.

Rob Loe answered from long range for the Breakers, but Mitch McCarron and Gliddon again hit from beyond the paint before Abercrombie's three-pointer tied the scores at 70-70 with less than six minutes remaining.

But that was the closest they could get, Gliddon proving unstoppable from long range, and Jawai and Worthington combining well in close as Cairns maintained control to the final whistle.

"I feel like a good majority of [Cairns'] made threes came off defensive breakdowns and that's not good enough from us," Breakers coach Paul Henare said.

"We spoke before the game that they're a team where we need to play defence for 24 seconds, or as long as they have the ball, because they keep running through and they keep searching for shots and searching for defensive breakdowns.

"We lost that battle tonight."

-AAP

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