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.
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.