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Bullets rue missed opportunities in NBL

AAP logoAAP 3/12/2016 Matt Harris

Brisbane Bullets coach Andrej Lemanis remains upbeat despite his side slumping to consecutive home defeats after falling 89-84 to the Cairns Taipans in Brisbane on Saturday night.

The Bullets trailed by 21 points in the third quarter, but slowly clawed back the deficit and were only behind by one point midway through the final term before eventually losing by five.

Struggling with 11 first-half turnovers, the Bullets found the type of form in the second half which took them top of the NBL ladder prior to the Taipans clash, offering hope to the faithful at the Brisbane Convention Centre.

Buoyed by an impressive victory against the Wildcats in Perth only two days earlier, the Bullets started the Queensland derby in enthusiastic fashion and led by five points during the first quarter before the Taipans went on a 16-2 run in three minutes to set up a 27-21 quarter-time lead.

Behind by 10 at halftime and nine prior to the final stretch, Lemanis credited his side for not throwing the towel in when the deficit ballooned during the third quarter.

"We got stressed by the franticness of the game at times when things weren't actually that bad," Lemanis said.

"We were only down by eight (one minute into the fourth quarter), but it felt like worse because we missed layups, made turnovers and that leads to frustration.

"We maintained our belief, pose and composure in the second half when it could have all gone down the drain.

"We hung in there and gave ourselves an opportunity, but in the end we missed our opportunities."

The Bullets led the stats department in field-goal percentage (46 to 41 per cent), rebounds (37 to 34), blocks (five to three) and made three more two-point shots than the Taipans.

However, they were haunted by a 22-11 difference in points from turnovers, while Cairns scored 11 more points than Brisbane from the foul line.

American Import and former Taipan Torrey Craig finished with 24 points and 10 rebounds for the Bullets, while Travis Trice pulled the strings for Cairns with 24 points and four assists.

"We just fell short in the end and couldn't get them off the foul line," Craig said.

"They shot a lot of free-throws which was ultimately the back breaker."

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