Lamar Patterson in action for the Bullets against Cairns on Friday night. Picture: Getty Images
Lamar Patterson in action for the Bullets against Cairns on Friday night. Picture: Getty Images

Brilliant Bullets smash Taipans

A third-quarter blitzkrieg helped Brisbane christen their new homecourt with a 90-74 victory over Cairns in the NBL's "Sunshine Stoush" on Friday night.

The Bullets blew the Taipans off the freshly set-up QSNC court at Nathan with a 31-14 third term that turned a four-point halftime deficit into a 13-point cushion heading into the final quarter that was a procession for the home side.

It was as brutal as it was brilliant as the Bullets ensured there would be no repeat of last year's derby upsets when the wooden spoon Snakes beat Brisbane on three occasions with a plus-27 point differential compared to their 3-21 record (-149 points differential) against the rest of the league.

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Bullets coach Andrej Lemanis said the dominant third quarter showcased how he wants his team to play this season.

"That's a reflection of how, as a team, we will actually be good this year. We play deep…we have lots of talent,'' he said.

"What we can do is sustain a level over the course of 40 minutes which is hopefully difficult for other teams to sustain.

"We keep coming at you, keep coming at you and somewhere in there we feel like we can break it open a little bit…and give us a little bit of an edge.''

EJ Singler of the Bullets runs with the ball. Picture: Getty Images
EJ Singler of the Bullets runs with the ball. Picture: Getty Images

He said the sluggish start and the number of offensive rebounds grabbed by Cairns (15) remained a concern after giving up 22 against the Hawks on Sunday.

"We didn't come out well tonight. We were certainly flat from the start…it was the way they scored,'' he said.

It started with a 9-1 run to open proceedings in the third term and just as the Taipans steadied Bullets import EJ Singler (10 points for the night) got red-hot with eight quick points to lead the relentless Brisbane charge.

Jason Cadee also had five points and two assists for the quarter for the Bullets to contribute to the carnage.

Bullets guard Nathan Sobey (21 points and five assists) and centre Matt Hodgson (14 points, four rebounds, two blocks) were standouts for the home side while Lamar Patterson had seven points, six rebounds and five assists. Will Magnay had nine points and five boards off the bench.

The win was the first time a home team had won at the QSNC after netball's Queensland Firebirds failed to secure a victory on their own floor in 2019.

Bullets coach Andrej Lemanis talks to his team. Picture: Getty Images
Bullets coach Andrej Lemanis talks to his team. Picture: Getty Images

Cameron Oliver and Scott Machado had 16 points each for the Snakes while Mirko Djeric and Majok Deng had 14 points apiece.

Cairns coach Mike Kelly said the Taipans failed to handle the heat from Brisbane after halftime.

"We didn't respond to their pressure well. We turned the ball over and they came out in attack mode,'' he said.

"It's us continually being able to deal with chaos. We didn't do a good job of that in the second half."

He said DJ Newbill did not play due to a shoulder injury.

Cairns led 49-45 at halftime after being in control for most of the opening two terms and keeping the clunky Brisbane at bay.

The Snakes shot the lights out early to race to a 21-12 lead in the first quarter but three rapid-fire three-pointers from the home side levelled the scores before the visitors edged ahead 24-21 at the first change.

Much like last Sunday against Illawarra, rebounding was a problem for Brisbane who gave up six offensive boards in the first quarter and eight by halftime.

Brisbane briefly hit the front midway through the second quarter but the Taipans re-asserted their authority through Djeric who had 11 points at halftime with an efficient four field goals from seven attempts.

Brisbane (2-0) will take on South-East Melbourne on Sunday in Melbourne while the Taipans (0-2) will play Illawarra in Wollongong on Monday.

BRISBANE BULLETS 90 (N Sobey 21 M Hodgson 14 E Singler 10) CAIRNS TAIPANS 74 (C Oliver 16 SMachado 16 M Djeric 14) at Queensland State Netball Centre.