BREAKERS guard Cedric Jackson crept back into the nightmares of the Cairns Taipans last night, notching more points than he previously ever had in the NBL as they cruised to victory in Auckland.
The American, who this week has been linked to the LA Lakers as a short-term injury replacement, looked like he was playing a different sport as they rolled home 97-76.
He had 32 points, hitting 11/13 from the field and not missing until the third quarter.
It followed his 20 points and 12 assists in their last encounter in Cairns.
But unlike in that game, at least for the most part and particularly on offence, the Taipans were not disgraced.
The ease with which Jackson got to the basket was worrying and their transition from defence an issue coach Aaron Fearne must address before the Taipans play Melbourne on Sunday.
‘‘We have to stop the d trans,’’ Jamar Wilson (18points) said post-game.
‘‘When they shoot at 60 per cent we aren’t giving ourselves a chance to win the game.’’
At least the Taipans, at 43 per cent shooting, were better than their 26.8 effort in the team’s last encounter, which was the third-worst shooting percentage in the history of the NBL.
But Wilson was still critical of his side’s ability to find buckets when they needed to.
It was their inability to go with the Breakers in a lopsided second quarter (33-19) that broke the Snakes, after the visitors started so well.
‘‘They just put the pressure up; made shots and we didn’t hit any shots in reply,’’ Wilson said.
The decisive moment came at 24-25, when Kerry Williams missed both free throws and the Breakers followed with consecutive three-point plays.
From there Jackson caught fire, slicing up the hesitant Taipans’ defence to open up a 20-point margin at the final break.
Taipans captain Alex Loughton (5 points at 2-10 shooting) could not find his rhythm as foul trouble plagued him.
Cam Tragardh (eight points) was in the same boat, but at least front-court partner Shane Edwards looked comfortable in front of the big crowd at Vector Arena.
The import played arguably his best game in Taipans colours, shooting 6-of-10 to finish with 15 points and providing a presence on the boards.
Dusty Rychart was the other solid performer for the Snakes, rediscovering his mid-range jumper to also notch 15 and keep the Snakes
in striking distance for most of the first half.
With that in mind, Wilson will head to Melbourne this morning with plenty to be positive about.
‘‘We’ve been training really tough and it’s made us tougher. This result doesn’t really look good but we’ve got to keep plugging away,’’ he
‘‘We have what it takes to be in the top echelon.’’
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Crushing defeat: New Zealand Breakers outclassed Cairns Taipans, winning by 21 points at home in Auckland. Jamar Wilson played well but the Taipans were outclassed.