Taipans make statement against Sydney
The CQUniversity Cairns Taipans hosted the Sydney Kings at Cairns Convention Centre on Saturday night and came away with an 87-80 win off the back of a huge team effort.
Cairns entered the game with the starting five of Patrick Miller, Lat Mayen, Sam Waardenburg, Bobi Klintman and Bul Kuol while the defending champs went with Jordan Hunter, Jaylen Adams, Kouat Noi, Alex Toohey and Denzel Valentine.
In the first quarter, the Kings started with possession to get the clash underway with first points from former Taipan Kouat Noi, a two-point layup before another layup for a quick four points from the South Sudanese big man.
Sam Waardenburg responded quickly drawing the foul to head to the line before Patrick Miller landed the jump shot to make the team’s intentions clear.
The Taipans went into the first break with a 26-20 lead after starting the game in the best possible way, Bobi Klintman contributing seven points and three rebounds for the quarter, while for the Kings Noi led scoring with eight points.
In the second quarter, Cairns continued to show their venom heading into the main break having extended the lead out to nine points, with the scoreboard showing 51-42.
Kuol sank eight individual points in the second quarter, including two made threes (3/5 made threes at the half), while Klintman continued to showcase his ability to cover both ends of the floor taking seven rebounds for the half, five of which were on the defensive end.
The Kings did win the third quarter, but the Taipans maintained the lead at the final break, 69-61.
In the final quarter, the Kings brought the deficit back to within a two-possession game with two minutes left of play, before Klintman drew the foul on Valentine to head to the line and sink both before a Kuol layup to push the home side’s lead back out to eight.
The Kings would fight until the end, but the Cairns outfit would take the win back on home court, 87-80.
Bul Kuol finished the game as lead contributor for the Taipans with 24 points including four from seven shots from deep as well as Sam Waardenburg finishing the game with 22 points and six rebounds.
Bobi Klintman continued to show what he brings to the team with 17 points, including an impressive 88% clip from the free throw line, delivering the important conversion in the win.
That conversion rate may have been the difference in this win with Miller (4/4) and Mayen (4/4) finishing on 100% from the line also, results that Coach Forde commented on during the post-game press conference.
“You could argue that it cost us the game against Illawarra,” Forde said.
“I feel like we lead the league in terms of attempts, but before this game we were dead last in terms of percentage.
“You can win or lose games from the foul line – and we recognise that from this weekend.
“If we only shot the 60% that we shot against Illawarra, Sydney walks away with the win.”
The Taipans will next play a road double for Round 6, heading to New Zealand and South East Melbourne.
Next Home Game: Saturday 11 November, 4:30pm vs Illawarra Hawks