The Brisbane Bullets have pulled off one of the great NBL comebacks to defeat Cairns Taipans 105-103 in an overtime thriller.
The Bullets reeled in a 15-point deficit to lock up the scores at 90-90 by the end of regulation time before import Vic Law capped a remarkable game with the match-winning lay-up at the death in overtime.
“I was just waiting for that moment. I think every kid wants that shot and I was just happy I was able to make it,” said Law, who finished with 29 points and 11 rebounds.
Law combined with sharpshooting guard Nathan Sobey (30 points, five assists) to prove the difference, sealing a second straight win for Brisbane (2-2 record) in front of an ecstatic, 4,065-strong Nissan Arena crowd.
Despite a hot start which included the highest half-time score by any team this season (55 points), Cairns still crashed to their fifth straight defeat.
“This was the first time we have been tested in that manner and what I was pleased about was at halftime … there was a poise and focus within the team,” said Bullets coach Andrej Lemanis, who claimed his 200th NBL win and his 50th at Brisbane.
“That’s what gives me confidence that this group is in the right place with our culture and spirit.”
In their first away game of the season, the Taipans (1-5 record) were cruising when they led 55-40 at halftime and 72-61 at the final break.
However the Bullets turned the tables in the fourth term.
Taipans guard Mirko Djeric gifted Sobey four free throws when he gave away a technical foul. Sobey nailed all of them to cut the deficit to just 81-77 and suddenly it was game on.
Then disaster struck for the shellshocked Taipans.
Damaging forward Majok Deng (15 points) fouled out with four minutes left on the clock before star import Cam Oliver (21 points, 8 rebounds) followed soon after, throwing Cairns’ gameplan out the window.
Led by Scott Machado (23 points, 10 assists) Cairns regrouped and Kiwi international Jarrod Kenny nailed a three-pointer to lock up the scores at 90-90 to force the game into overtime.
Both teams traded threes in an over-time shootout before Law showed remarkable poise to nail the match-winning lay-up.
“I don’t know how you process it other than say our guys played well and with heart and Brisbane came through and made some big shots,” Taipans coach Mike Kelly said.
Law was involved in everything on Saturday, including a fiery third quarter clash with Oliver that almost sparked a melee and resulted in both imports receiving unsportsmanlike fouls.