National Basketball League

Kai Sotto, Adelaide 36ers buck slow start, rally past Cairns Taipans

JR Isaga
Kai Sotto, Adelaide 36ers buck slow start, rally past Cairns Taipans

KEY CONTRIBUTOR. Kai Sotto (left) looks to deliver quality minutes again for the Adelaide 36ers.

Adelaide 36ers

The Adelaide 36ers recover from a 9-23 first quarter and control the second half to beat the Cairns Taipans at home

MANILA, Philippines – The Adelaide 36ers bucked a horror start against the Cairns Taipans, and got back to their winning ways in the Australia National Basketball League (NBL) off an 82-71 home win on Sunday, February 20.

With the win, the Sixers rose to 5-7 for the season in seventh place, while the Taipans remained rooted to the cellar with a 3-8 slate.

Filipino star prospect Kai Sotto continued to provide value in limited minutes, as he finished with 5 points, 5 rebounds, 3 blocks, and 1 steal in just under 13 minutes off the bench.

Adelaide looked headed for a major embarrassment at home after Cairns fired off a huge 13-1 start, with the Sixers first field goal coming in exactly five minutes after tip-off. The Taipans then peaked with a 15-point lead, 23-8, before ending the quarter up, 23-9.

However, Adelaide quickly woke up from its stupor at the start of the second period with a deficit-erasing 15-0 run, highlighted with a Sotto alley-oop jam halfway through the frame for the 23-all tie.

Now with momentum back on their side, Adelaide traded leads with Cairns until they broke even at intermission, 34-all. Thanks to that second quarter spurt, the second half completely belonged to the Sixers as a 7-0 start in the third put them up, 41-34.

That was all the breathing room they needed to take control, as they peaked with a 15-point lead at the 4:19 mark of the fourth, 71-56, off a Tad Dufelmeier layup, and never looked back.

Big man Daniel Johnson led the balanced Sixer attack with 18 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 assists, while captain Mitch McCarron filled up the stat sheet with 14 markers, 6 boards, 5 steals, and 4 dimes.

Meanwhile, former Chicago Bulls forward Cam Bairstow had himself a rough day, and finished with just 6 points on 2-of-6 shooting in under 20 minutes, which opened up quality time for Sotto.

Former NBA player Stephen Zimmerman paced the tough loss with a game-high 21-point, 14-rebound double-double, while Majok Deng added 12 markers on 5-of-7 shooting.

Desperate for consistency, the Sixers can start a new winning streak on Friday, February 25, 4:30pm, Manila time, as they take on the streaking Illawarra Hawks.

The Scores

Adelaide 82 – Johnson 18, McCarron 14, Dech 13, Hannahs 10, Dufelmeier 9, Withers 6, Bairstow 6, Sotto 5, Malou 1, Marshall 0, Gattorna 0, Olbrich 0.

Cairns 71 – Zimmerman 21, Deng 12, McCall 8, Kuol 8, Machado 6, Djeric 6, Pinder 5, Nelson 5, Ngatai 0.

Quarters: 9-23, 34-34, 54-47, 82-71.


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