Game Preview: Cairns v South East
The CQUniversity Cairns Taipans head to John Cain Arena on Sunday afternoon for their second game of a road double, to face a South East Melbourne Phoenix outfit looking to also bounce back from a loss this round.
The Taipans fell short to the Breakers 81-91 on Friday while the Phoenix went down 108-92 to a Brisbane Bullets side in the river city on Thursday night.
The Taipans sit sixth on the ladder with a 3-3 record, falling from second position after the loss in New Zealand. South East Melbourne sit at third spot with five wins from nine games played.
Last time these two sides met, it was the Taipans the 87-80 victors at Cairns Convention Centre back in round two before the Cairns side departed for the US for their NBL x NBA tournament.
Will the Taipans strike again, or will the Phoenix rise and take this win in front of the home faithful?
WHEN AND WHERE
Sunday 5 November – John Cain Arena (1PM AEST)
HOW TO FOLLOW
Watch: Live on ESPN or 10 Peach
The Taipans have found the road trips a little troublesome to start the season with only one from four, beating the Bullets 89-86 at Nissan Arena in round two and narrowly fell short b by a point against the Hawks in Wollongong last round.
The Phoenix have won all four of their home games, including a one-point win (86-85) against the JackJumpers, making John Cain Arena a fortress for the faithful.
In their loss to the Breakers, the signs were good from players including Bobi Klintman who offered up a contribution of 17 points and six rebounds, along with Bul Kuol leading again in a mammoth 38-minute effort with 18 points, as well as Lat Mayen who stuffed the stat-sheet with 18 points, five assists and seven rebounds.
Taran Armstrong saw 19 minutes of court-time for his NBL debut, sinking seven points with three rebounds as he made the starting five for his first professional game.
Guard Patrick Miller will miss this clash for his Taipans, with the starting five that lined up for the game against the Breakers expected to stay the same. Taipans development player Kian Dennis will meet the team in Melbourne, to replace Lachlan Anderson (back) as Tahjere McCall could see his first minutes in his return from America.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Waardenburg did his best work in the final quarter of the game against the Breakers, sinking six of his eight points in the final stanza. This performance showing again what he brings to this Snakes side and the game.
In six games played this season, he is averaging 11.5 points, 3.5 assists and 6.8 rebounds per game. The points contribution is similar to his output last season (11.3) but up significantly in assists (1.1) and rebounds (5.5) compared to the 2022/23 season.
A scary prospect when you remember that last season, he took out the Next Gen Award and continues to work on his craft as he continues to be an emerging star of this Taipans squad.
When Waardenburg is firing, his team-mates are buying in as shown in that final quarter of their last game with hot scoring from the likes of Klintman (6), Mayen (6) and Mennenga (5) in that quarter.