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Taipans too hot for Hawks in NBL

AAP logoAAP 30/10/2016

The Cairns Taipans have completed a perfect week with Sunday night's 98-83 NBL thrashing of the Illawarra Hawks in Wollongong.

Winless at the start of the week, the Taipans claimed their maiden season victory on Thursday against Melbourne United before overpowering the Hawks at WIN Entertainment Centre.

Illawarra were playing their fourth game in nine days and were hoping to wrap up their own week with two wins after beating titleholders Perth on Friday.

Cairns had their best shooting night of the season and one of the best by any team, hitting 55 per cent of their attempts.

The Taipans led at every change and had six players in double figures, led by import Fuquan Edwin (15 points) and veteran forward Mark Worthington (15).

Hawks guard Marvelle Harris finished with a game-high 19 and centre AJ Ogivly added 13.

Illawarra got away to a positive start but were unable to contain the Taipans' red-hot shooting (12 of 18) and fell behind 27-23 at quarter-time.

It was a similar story in the second period, as the visitors continued to make shots to stretch the margin to double figures.

Back-up guard Damon Heuir emerged as an unlikely offensive source for the Taipans, scoring 12 points off the bench to propel his team to a 52-41 half-time lead.

The margin never got below six in the second half, as the Taipans confidently cruised to victory.

The Hawks have a week to prepare for next Sunday's round-five home game against Melbourne United, while the Taipans host the league-leading Sydney Kings next Saturday.

"We shot 32 per cent in our first three games and it's been a lot better in the last two games, and it certainly makes it a lot easier when you make shots," Cairns coach Aaron Fearne said.

"Nate [Jawai] had his best game tonight, Mark has been good the last few games.

"It was tough with some of the injuries we had but you overcome the obstacles that come your way."

Cairns guard Damon Heuir noted that there were a number of his teammates keeping the scoreboard ticking over.

"Different guys hit different shots tonight and that was a key factor," he said.

"We're a really close-knit team and that helped us in those first three games."

Hawks coach Rob Beveridge was full of praise for the Taipans.

"They're as good as what we've played this season," he said.

"We mentally broke down at times and it really hurt us."

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