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Taipans strike against Breakers in big win

Cairns gave their NBL finals hopes a major boost with a destructive 108-90 win against the New Zealand Breakers.

The Taipans led from start to finish at the Cairns Convention Centre, extending their margin by as much as 22 points before cruising to a comfortable victory.

The home side had too much firepower for their trans-Tasman rivals, with six players scoring double digits.

The Breakers had just one winner on the court, with controversial star Glen Rice Jr playing a lone hand for New Zealand, scoring 30 points on his return from suspension.

Cairns showed more intensity from the outset and it was reflected on the scoreboard.

In the first half, the Snakes shot at 64 per cent from the field compared to New Zealand's 42 per cent.

The half-time lead of 17 points grew by five in the third term before the Breakers took some pride in their performance to reduce the margin to 10 at the final break.

New Zealand managed to reduce the deficit to eight points early in the last quarter before three-pointers from Scott Machado and Majok Deng put paid to any thoughts of a comeback.

Both sides went through the motions in the last five minutes as Cairns cruised to victory with both benches getting a workout.

Imports Machado (22), DJ Newbill (20) and Cam Oliver (12) were strong contributors, as were Deng (20), Mirko Dejric (12) and Kouat Noi (10).

Rice led all comers for the Breakers.

Sek Henry (19), Jarrad Weeks (15) and Brandon Ashley (11) toiled hard to keep the visitors in the game.

"The guys came in and played the right way (from the start)," Taipans coach Mike Kelly said.

"We were able to get a lead, even though that was not comfortable, because New Zealand continued to just put that pressure on.

"Guys had to make plays to stretch it back out there so I was really happy that they did and that some other guys got minutes."

Because of the big margin, the Snakes were able to give playing time to all 11 members of their squad and Kelly said his team's efficiency on offence made a big difference.

"It's funny, you gotta make shots," he said.

"We do have some shot makers on this team and it was great to see them step up when we really needed it."

The Cairns Taipans have become one of the in-form teams of the competition with four wins from their past five appearances to take their record to 6-7.

They travel to play the ladder-leading Sydney Kings on Sunday.

The Breakers, now 3-9, travel home before a must-win game against the Brisbane Bullets on Monday night.