Cairns Taipans have made it two from two to start the NBL season, beating New Zealand Breakers 82-71 on Sunday, following their win over Illawarra on Friday.
Despite patches of dominance and a star turn from swingman Tom Abercrombie, the Breakers struggled with their combinations in Auckland and made too many shooting errors.
They managed to shoot at just 41 per cent accuracy from the field and missed almost half of their free throws.
Cairns were only partly better, shooting at 46 per cent from the field, but rode a third-quarter hot streak of 25 points to victory.
The win maintains the Queenslanders’ perfect start and sends them into Thursday’s clash with Adelaide in high spirits.
New Zealand, meanwhile, will play Sydney Kings on Friday.
“We’ll learn a lot from this – just in terms of the match fitness, the guys will be a little bit sharper moving forward,” Breakers coach Paul Henare said.
“We definitely don’t need to reinvent the wheel.”
“We just didn’t convert plays – we went to the foul line and we missed several free throws in that second half, weren’t converting plays at the rim for whatever reason, and the scoring dried up.
“That’s what Cairns force you to do and then they grind you down at the other end, and we just weren’t able to get any momentum.”
By the end of the match, the Breakers’ star man Abercrombie had racked up 24 points, while imports Edgar Sosa and DJ Newbill both hit double figures.
Yet the Taipans unleashed in the third quarter.
Emerging from the sheds possessed, Cairns put on their dominant 25-point tally, helped by strong showings from import Dayshon Smith (18 points) and Stephen Weigh (17 points).
For the Breakers, it proved an obstacle too difficult to surmount.