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Taipans in tight win over NZ in NBL

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 6/01/2017

Cairns' Nathan Jawai © AAP Image/Brian Cassey Cairns' Nathan Jawai The Cairns Taipans have moved off the bottom of the NBL ladder after an ugly 65-63 win at home over the New Zealand Breakers.

Both teams scored just 11 points each in a dire opening quarter that set the tone for the rest of the encounter.

The Taipans turned the ball over 13 times but the Breakers were even worse with 18.

Despite that, the visitors found themselves in the lead for most of the night, largely thanks to a huge advantage on the boards, where they led the home side by 12 at one point in the third quarter.

But an influential final stanza from Taipans rookie Mitch McCarron saved them, his 14 points, three assists, six rebounds and a steal proving the difference.

The Breakers saw hope after the Taipans missed five three throws in the final minute to give New Zealand forward Rob Loe a last-second game-winning attempt, but he couldn't get it to fall.

The result means the Breakers are last on the NBL ladder ahead of their match against league leaders Adelaide on Sunday.

They'll be hoping import Paul Carter can suit up after the guard limped from the court following a knee clash with the Taipans' Stephen Weigh.

Kirk Penny was the best for the Breakers with 21 points, while Taipans centre Nate Jawai added 11 points to his team's winning total.

Cairns will next play Melbourne United in Melbourne on Saturday week.

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