Taipans finals dreams over/NEWSPORT (copy 1)

Monday 19 March 2012

Taipans finals dreams over

The fat lady sang nice and loud at the Cairns Convention Centre on Saturday night as the Cairns Taipans couldn't keep their end of the play-off bargain to win their last two games of National Basketball League season.

The Taipans were not expected to go down to the Sydney Kings (by six points), but when your tall timber can barely move and need pain-killing injections to even suit up, it's never ideal preparation for a do-or-die clash!

New Kings coach, Shane Heal, is also no fool and exploited our weaknesses beautifully by running plays to his own healthy 'bigs'. Sometimes coaching isn't rocket science!

We now have one home game to go against Adelaide next weekend and, unfortunately, there'll be no play-off heroics like last season.

Coach, Aaron Fearne (who is about to ink a new two-year deal) and his brains trust will then spend the off-season trying to put together another formidable outfit.

I'll bet they'll start by trying to retain MVP candidate point guard, Jamar Wilson, but no doubt we'll probably lose him to another more cashed up club! (I know that sounds negative but just look at what the Melbourne Tigers did to us last year.) We'll also be on the hunt for a centre, as Alex Loughton may have played his last game and Ian Crosswhite is also getting closer to the end.

Congratulations to the New Zealand Breakers, Perth Wildcats, Gold Coast and Townsville for making the playoffs and I'm tipping a NZ/Perth decider - but I'll pick my winner after watching the next round.

Perth looked sensational and unbeatable on Friday night when they trounced Townsville by 35 points, but NZ will have the home court advantage after securing the minor championship - that's provided they both get through their semi-final clashes. I'm excited!

In other exciting basketball news, Patty Mills has been thrown an NBA lifeline by the powerhouse franchise, San Antonio Spurs. About a week ago, I noticed their back-up point guard retired and, as the Spurs assistant coach (Brett Brown) is our national coach, it would be a great fit for him. Brown obviously agreed and now our starting point guard will get valuable conditioning for the London Olympics - not to mention the minimum salary he'll pocket of nearly a cool million!

Our other Aussie in the big time, Andrew Bogut, was traded from Milwaukee to Golden State last week, which was by far the biggest move before the trade deadline. I would have much preferred him to go to a contender like Miami or the Lakers, but a fresh start will do his injury-prone body some good. If it doesn't work out, maybe he can come and give our Snakes a hand - that would be a nice fit, but I doubt Cairns could afford to match his US$80 million contract.

Imagine getting that sort of dough to play basketball! I'll stop dreaming shortly.....

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