NBL: New Zealand Breakers out of finals contention

Just six teams are left in the NBL finals race after New Zealand Breakers were knocked out of contention by Cairns Taipans in a 106-98 overtime thriller on Monday night.

The bottom-placed Taipans trailed by as much as 12 points in the second quarter, but showed plenty of determination to fight back against the Breakers and claim victory.

The Snakes led by one point at the final break and held on to be 91-91 at full-time at the Cairns Convention Centre.

The league's leading point scorer Melo Trimble continued his hot run with 32 points, five rebounds and five assists for the home side, while big man Nate Jawai fired in 18 points of his own.

Increased minutes for Lucas Walker paid dividends for Cairns coach Mike Kelly as the former Perth Wildcats forward pulled in eight rebounds and provided the Taipans with plenty of energy.

Teammate DJ Newbill also found his rhythm, scoring 16 points against his former club.

Both teams had foul trouble, but New Zealand was the hardest hit.

Shea Ili was fouled out in the final term, while teammate Tai Wesley picked up his fifth in overtime.

Missed free-throws threatened to derail the Taipans in extra time, but Cairns continued to find a way to get stops and make buckets to kill off their rivals.

Trimble scored seven crucial points in overtime to help seal the deal.

"I'm just trying to make a name for myself," the American import said post-game.

"I'll keep being humble and keep being better.

"We are just playing good basketball right now. We want to try and hurt some other teams (finals chances)."

After being 1-14 earlier in the season, the Taipans have turned their season around to be 3-3 since January 1.

The 8-12 Breakers would now need a miracle to make the NBL playoffs.

On Monday night they were led by Shawn Long and Wesley, who shared point scoring honours with 20 apiece.

There won't be much time for either side to contemplate the result with both the Taipans and Breakers are on the plane to New Zealand for a Thursday night rematch in New Plymouth.