Bullets dealt NBL finals blow by Snakes

The Brisbane Bullets are now relying on results to go their way to make the NBL finals after a crushing 79-68 loss to the Cairns Taipans on Saturday.

The Bullets must now beat the New Zealand Breakers in the final round and hope Adelaide loses to both Melbourne and Perth in order to sneak into fourth position.

The Taipans, farewelling club champion and skipper Alex Loughton, led by as many as 15 points in the third term, but had to slog it out in the final quarter to win.

Brisbane drew within two points at one stage and looked like overrunning the wooden spooners, but couldn't finish the job.

Point-scoring machine Melo Trimble was kept relatively quiet, finishing with 23 points after a scoreless opening term.

The retiring Loughton had 11 points in front of 5,000 adoring fans at a packed Cairns Convention Centre. He scored the match-winning points in the last minute of the game for a hero's reception.

The 35-year-old is the second most capped player in the club's history and played in both of the Taipans' grand final campaigns.

The Bullets were led by Americans Jeremy Kendle (17) and Lamar Patterson (16) but did not get enough support from their starters, particularly Cam Gliddon and Cam Bairstow, who combined for five points.

If Brisbane were to miss the finals, they would surely rue their performances against the bottom-placed Taipans.

In their four meetings in 2018-19, Cairns won three times.

Had the Bullets won those matches, they would have likely secured a home final.

Instead, they sweat on the performances of Adelaide against Melbourne on Sunday and Perth next Friday night.

The Bullets will know their situation when they host the New Zealand Breakers next Saturday.