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Cairns Taipans beat Perth Wildcats Game Play Stats Score Result Playoffs Schedule Semi Finals News

DJ Hogg delivered one of the best all-around performances by a Taipans player to lead a powerhouse Cairns team into a mouth-watering NBL Playoffs series with the Kings.

The Taipans bounced back from a grueling loss to the JackJumpers in the Wildcats’ Best Qualifier and spoil Perth star Bryce Cotton’s 200th game with a 91-78 win at the Cairns Conference Centre.

Perth entered contention with an incredible fourth-quarter comeback to end Phoenix’s season on Thursday, and with the Taipan side missing Tahiri McCall and Keanu Bender, they must have had their chances.

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But Hough had other ideas.

The All-NBL Second Team member showed why he was selected to the Meritorious Team with a phenomenal performance on both sides of the ball.

Hogg was the go-everywhere guy from the start, he was the guy Vipers needed everywhere, but he made his massive effort seem effortless.

DJ Hogg of the Taipans leads the court during the NBL Final Play match between the Cairns Taipans and Perth Wildcats at the Cairns Convention Center, on February 12, 2023, in Cairns, Australia.  (Photo by Emily Parker/Getty Images)
DJ Hogg of the Taipans leads the court during the NBL Final Play match between the Cairns Taipans and Perth Wildcats at the Cairns Convention Center, on February 12, 2023, in Cairns, Australia. (Photo by Emily Parker/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

He finished with the most points by a Taipan in a postseason game with 32 points, scoring 57 percent from the field with five-of-12 from depth, nine rebounds, four assists, and two blocks.

Stop every snake.

Paul Cole had a terrible performance with 23 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.

Next Generation player Sam Wardenburg had 15 points and 10 rebounds, while the Late Maine had eight points in his NFL debut.

The Taipans will now go on to face the Kings in NBL Play-offs with a spot in the Championship Series on the line.

Cotton had 19 points, while Corey Webster (14), Tashaun Thomas (14) and Brady Mannick (13) all scored double figures for Perth.

This is the path

DJ Hogg has always been a key offensive weapon for the Snakes, so it should come as no surprise that he picked up eight of his team’s first nine points.

Hogg was recognized for his outstanding campaign with selection to the All-NBL Second Team, as his 17.45 points (44 percent from the field), 5.6 rebounds, 1.3 blocks and 1.2 steals played a key role for Cairns at this all-time position.

With McCall and Pinder out, Hogg was the man from the jump, and his accuracy and efficiency from the field helped the Vipers build a six-point lead in the first half.

A Cairns man in the clutch, he landed some crucial buckets throughout the competition to add to the home team’s lead and put the pressure on Perth.

Hogg had 21 points in the first half, including four-of-eight (50 percent) from three, as Cairns had a 52-43 halftime lead.

His blocking of Cotton’s denial with 70 seconds left in the second term got as strong a reaction from the home fans as any of his big blows at the other end.

It would be difficult for Cairns to retain Hogg’s services after this season as he showed night, night, that he could hold out in a higher league.

Milestone Man

Bryce Cotton pitched his 200th US game with another typical strong performance for a Wildcats team desperate to get to the NBL Play-offs.

The man’s biography speaks for itself.

He’s a three-time MVP—many say he should have finished fourth a week ago—and a three-time NBL champion, always the most dangerous man in red.

In case anyone needed a reminder of the threat he poses, he scored 18 points in the fourth quarter as the Wildcats fell 41 points in the final season to end South East Melbourne’s season.

While the great NBL team had 10 points on the break, the Taipans Cotton held just eight field goal attempts in the first half – a perfect score against one of the deadliest shooters in the league.

big hit?

The Taipans were already hurting with the loss of star forward Keanu Bender, but a partial shoulder dislocation suffered by Tahjir McCall in qualifying put the team behind the eight-ball.

McCall is an integral part of this team. He is a leader in every sense of the word, and while he was outspoken on the bench, the outstanding defender wasn’t around to put his body on the line as he often does.

According to Wildcats John Rillie, he could not bear his side to focus on McCall’s absence.

“They kicked our butts without him in their Perth squad,” said Riley.

“They probably played a little more disciplined without him in the lineup, and the guys played a little bit more freely.”

He is expected to miss at least one week, pending MRI results later in the week, which could rule him out of at least one match of the semi-final series.

NBL Semifinals schedule

Sydney Kings – Cairns Taipans (3-match series)

The first match is at Qudos Bank Arena, 7:30pm AEDT Wednesday, February 15th

Game two is at the Cairns Convention Centre, 7:30pm EDT Friday 17 February

Match 3 (if required) at Qudos Bank Arena, 4:00pm AEST Sunday, February 19

New Zealand Breakers vs Tasmania Jack Jumpers (3-match series)

The first game is at the Spark Arena, 4:00pm AEDT Sunday, February 12th

Game two is at MyState Bank Arena, 7:30pm EDT Thursday, February 16th

Match 3 (if required) at Spark Arena, 2:00pm AEST Sunday, February 19th


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