36ers in NBL top four with win over Cairns

Adelaide are back in the NBL top four after cruising to a nine-point on-the-road victory over Cairns.

The 36ers raced to a 16-point lead in Saturday afternoon's opening quarter, but had to withstand a second-term fightback from the home side before pulling away for a comfortable 100-91 win.

The Taipans went on a 10-point scoring run in the second stanza to level the scores before a lay-up from Shaun Bruce on the buzzer handed Adelaide a two-point lead at the break.

From there, it was a procession for the 36ers. They outscored Cairns 31-21 in the third term and eased home in the final quarter.

Adelaide centre Daniel Johnson knocked down 24 points, pulled in eight rebounds and dished off five assists to be the 36ers' best.

"He was the one who opened the game up for us. He did a great job of keeping the court spread with his ability to shoot the ball and ability to tag," 36ers coach Joey Wright said.

"He set really good screens and was really complementary (sic) of the group around us. He was just on the money."

Teammates Nathan Sobey (14), Demitrius Conger (11) Jacob Wiley (11) and Jack McVeigh (10) also registered double figures.

Point-scoring machine Melo Trimble again headed the tally for Cairns, finishing with 21 points, while fellow import DJ Newbill tallied 13.

Kiwi guard Jarrod Kenny knocked down three three-pointers to finish with 11 points and Taipans rookie Fabijan Krslovic enjoyed his best game for the club to also score 11.

"Fab was great. It was his first real opportunity at bigger minutes, and he actually took those minutes. I didn't give him the minutes," Cairns coach Mike Kelly said.

"He just played really well and played really hard and I found it difficult to take him out of the game. He was playing against Wiley and held his own."

It was a tough day at the office for the Taipans, who learned post-match that captain and veteran Alex Loughton, 35, is retiring at the end of the season.

The Taipans are now 4-20 for the season with four matches to play and their next assignment is on Monday night against Illawarra.

Adelaide, with a 13-12 record, go on the road again next week, playing the New Zealand Breakers in Auckland.