Coach’s spray helps 36ers to NBL win

Steve Barrett |

The Adelaide 36ers have recovered from a shambolic start to defeat the last-placed Cairns Taipans 82-71 in their NBL clash at Adelaide Entertainment Centre.

Spearheaded by Daniel Johnson (18 points, nine rebounds), the Sixers (5-7) outscored the visitors 45-21 across the middle two terms and 73-48 from quarter-time onwards following some harsh words from coach CJ Bruton.

“It was a little ugly early, a slow start,” Bruton admitted.

“We were late on close-outs and indecisive about what we were doing, so it was about time I put my foot where it needed to go – and they responded.

“You’ve got to show some toughness and grit and we did that.”

Bruton’s quarter-time rocket was warranted as the home side initially were unable to cope with the Taipans’ intense defence, manic rebounding and the size of import centre Stephen Zimmerman (career-high 21 points, 14 boards).

Cairns turned a 13-1 headstart into a 23-9 quarter-time cushion before going cold at both ends and conceding the first 15 points of the second period as the 36ers responded perfectly to Bruton’s spray.

Johnson, who was held scoreless in the opening stanza, got motoring as the 36ers drew level at half-time, 34-all.

With the Taipans’ star point guard Scott Machado clearly labouring, fellow guard Tahjere McCall finding foul trouble, Zimmerman receiving no support and the turnovers mounting, Adelaide pressed home their advantage in the third.

“We look so disinterested it’s not funny and it’s showing,” frustrated Cairns coach Adam Forde told his charges during a time-out as his side’s woes continued, the Sixers moving ahead 54-47 at three-quarter-time.

Sunday Dech and back-up guard Tad Dufelmeier, impressive at both ends against his former side, helped extend Adelaide’s lead to 15 in the fourth and keep the Taipans, suffering their fourth defeat in eight days, anchored to the bottom of the NBL ladder.

“Defensively we’re not that bad … but we just don’t reward ourselves down the other end,” Forde said.

“We just throw it away and it’s just the most frustrating thing for these guys.

“We don’t even make the other team have to defend. We throw it away.”

“This is a real awkward position to be in and we’ve only got ourselves to blame.”