Tigers cruise to victory over the Cairns Taipans
THE Melbourne Tigers returned to the NBL winners’ list with an easy 106-94 victory over Cairns last night.
Melbourne never trailed and led by as many as 24 points in the fourth quarter before easing up late in the game.
Dave Thomas led the way with 26 points and seven rebounds and Chris Anstey added 20 points.
Kevin Owens battled well for Cairns with 25 points and Aaron Grabau had 15.
Thomas, who had been troubled by a back injury, set up the win.
He scored 14 points in the first quarter to help the Tigers establish a matchwinning lead.
They were able to contain Martin Cat t a l i n i , t h e league’s second highest scorer, limiting him to just 13 points.
David Stiff controlled Cattalini and added 13 points in a fine all-round display.
Melbourne coach Al Westover was pleased with his team’s focus after they dropped a mid-week clash with the South Dragons.
‘‘It was very important for us to win tonight,’’ Westover said last night.
‘‘You have to bounce back. We are happy with the win as Cairns is a good team.
‘‘Our shooting was a better tonight.
‘‘We hit 11-of-22 threepointers and their zone didn’t work against us.’’
Taipans coach Alan Black said his team’s slow start allowed Melbourne to control the game.
‘‘Our slow start allowed the Tigers to set the pace of the game,’’ Black said.
‘‘They slowed the game down, that’s their game and they love it.’’
Black said he would ask the NBL to look into an incident between Anstey and Grabau just before halftime.
Grabau went down holding his jaw but he played out the remainder of the game without any apparent discomfort.
MELBOURNE TIGERS 106 (D Thomas 26 C Anstey 20 S Hoare 14) d CAIRNS TAIPANS 94 (K Owens 25 A Grabau 15 M Cattalini 13) at State Netball and Hockey Centre, Melbourne. Crowd: 2990.
• The Singapore Slingers have won the battle between the NBL’s two overseas clubs, defeating the New Zealand Breakers 109-96 at the Newcastle Entertainment Centre last night.
It was a homecoming of s o r t s f o r some o f t h e Slingers, with five of their players having been a part of the Newcastle-based Hunter Pirates franchise, whom the Slingers replaced at the start of this season.
Former Sydney King Ben Knight had 21 first-half points to help open up an 11-point halftime lead for the Asian-based club and they were never headed.
SINGAPORE SLINGERS 109 (B Knight 28 M Helms 29 B Melmeth 17) d NEW ZEALAND BREAKERS 96 (C Powell 33 B Wethers 18 O Foreman 16) at Newcastle Entertainment Centre.
COP THAT . . . Cairns coach Alan Black will ask the NBL to investigate this clash between
Taipan Aaron Grabau, left, and Melbourne’s Chris Anstey last night in Melbourne