The Brisbane Bullets will host the Cairns Taipans in the National Basketball League on Friday.
The Bullets opened the campaign with a win on Sunday. They faced the Illawarra Hawks and recorded a 90-81 win. The game was close in the first half, but Brisbane dominated the third quarter to pull clear. They outscored the Hawks 22-14 in the period to establish a lead they never looked like losing. Lamar Patterson top-scored for them with 25 points. The guard also had eight rebounds in the game. Aside from Patterson, Nathan Sobey and Matt Hodgson scored 17 and 14 points respectively.
Courtesy of their points difference, the Bullets are first in the league table right now. They have started well, as they look to finish in the top four again. Brisbane finished fourth last season after winning 14 regular-season games. However, they lost to the Perth Wildcats in the first round of the playoffs. The Bullets’ last title came back in 2007 when they defeated the Melbourne Tigers in the final series. The franchise was dissolved in 2008, before being reinstated in 2016.
After two successive poor seasons, the Bullets improved last season to make the playoffs. Andrej Lemanis is in his fourth year as coach, and he will want to continue that improvement. The Bullets have a strong Australian contingent in their squad, led by captain Vukona Mika. American players Lamar Patterson and LaMelo Ball will also be critical members. Patterson was named as the club MVP last season.
As for the taipans, their campaign started off with a loss. They hosted the Sydney Kings in the first game of the season at the Cairns Convention Centre. The Kings claimed a 79-71 victory on the night. The Taipans were leading going into the fourth quarter, and they looked comfortable. But Sydney fought back valiantly, and Cairns collapsed. Sydney won the third quarter 22-8 to overcome the deficit by a healthy margin.
The Taipans struggled on the offensive end, and no player managed to score more than 15 points in the game. Kouat Noi top-scored for them with 14 points. The Taipans averaged 85.7 points per game last season in the regular season, which was the worst of any side. They will need to change that trend to challenge for higher positions this season. Cairns finished in the last place then as they won only six games out of the 28 they played.
They have fallen steeply in the last couple of seasons, and coach Mike Kelly has been trusted to stop that slide. He is into his second year at the club, and his first was not inspiring. Kelly has promising players like Noi at his disposal, and a playoff spot will be a great achievement.
Brisbane Bullets vs Cairns Taipans Betting Tips
The Bullets will be the favorites to get their second win on the bounce. The game will be close, and the margin of victory will be less than 10 points. But Brisbane should be too good for the Taipans and inflict their second consecutive defeat upon them.