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Cairns Taipans hold off NZ Breakers in NBL

NZN 27/11/2016 Josh Bristow

The Cairns Taipans have recovered from a final-quarter lapse to beat the New Zealand Breakers by 11 points in their NBL clash at the Cairns Convention Centre.

Cairns will be relieved with the 91-80 win after they almost let a 15 point half-time lead evaporate in the fourth quarter.

The Taipans entered the second half with their biggest half-time lead of the season but the Breakers hung around in the third quarter.

New Zealand's defence then went into another gear to start the final term as they hassled and smothered the Taipans at every turn.

By the five-minute mark they had reeled the game back to within two points.

But a brace of buckets from Cairns centre Nate Jawai and a breakaway Travis Trice layup from a stolen ball kept the home side's nose in front.

A four-point play from Travis Trice with just a minute and a half left then looked to have put the Breakers to bed.

But New Zealand, who've enjoyed a strong rivalry with Cairns in recent years, refused to go away.

New import David Stockton picked up the crumbs of an offensive rebound to make a three from well beyond the line, but that was as close as the visitors could get.

Playing in just his second home game, Snakes point guard Travis Trice proved he had well and truly put his recent hip injury behind him.

"He has the ability to just go and make a play, and that is his responsibility," coach Aaron Fearne said.

"It helps when you have someone who can make plays, as much as coaches like structure and plays, he can just go and make it happen."

The loss is the Breakers second in a row and coach Paul Henare could only lament his side's slow start.

"We came out flat and we didn't have the energy required which is hugely disappointing," Henare said.

"I trusted our group to make good decisions down the stretch but we fell well short of that in the last few minutes."

New Zealand will face the Illawarra Hawks next on Thursday, while the Taipans will travel to Brisbane to face the Brisbane Bullets on Saturday.

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