Taipans end United's NBL winning streak

Matt Nicholls
Cairns Taipans have beaten Melbourne United 93-86 to end the visiting side's winning run in the NBL

A defensive masterclass from the Cairns Taipans stopped Melbourne United in their tracks on Friday night as they registered a 93-86 win at the Cairns Convention Centre.

Cairns kept the red-hot United to 31 points in the second and third quarters to bring an end to Melbourne's six-game winning streak.

United's hot run started on the back of a loss to Cairns in October and the Dean Vickerman-coached side once again failed to get the job done against the Queenslanders.

After a strong start, Melbourne led by as much as nine points in the second quarter before United States imports Cameron Oliver and Scott Machado went to work for the home side.

By halftime, the Taipans had turned the tide to take a three-point lead and then put the foot down after the break, extending the buffer to 12 at the final change.

Melbourne attempted a final quarter comeback, but couldn't get it done against the determined Taipans, who kept their finals hopes alive with the win.

Big man Oliver topped the scoring with 26 points and 13 rebounds.

Importantly, he also got the better of United star Shawn Long.

"Cam is a major part of our team," Taipans coach Mike Kelly said.

"A lot of our offence is built on good ball movement and bigs and guards working together.

"This is definitely a team that needs every player to play their role."

Machado's stocks continue to soar after he produced another clutch performance.

The point guard knocked down three from the perimeter to finish with 17 points and dished off 10 assists for his team.

DJ Newbill (19 points), Majok Deng (15) and Kouat Noi (12 rebounds) were also strong contributors for the Taipans.

Against his former team, United guard Melo Trimble was reduced to 16 points in a tough night for the visitors.

Cairns now has a 5-7 record with the same amount of wins as South East Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane.

United, still comfortably in third position, are now 7-5 ahead of their blockbuster clash against the Sydney Kings on Sunday at Qudos Bank Arena.