Taipans have too much bite for Adelaide

Cairns Taipans are NBL finals-bound after a commanding 108-91 win against Adelaide 36ers on Saturday night.

An explosive start to the game and a powerful finish to the third quarter were pivotal in the home side's victory.

Cairns led by 18 points early in the second quarter to set up the win. The 36ers found their feet late in the term to peg the margin back to five points before half-time.

But a Cameron Oliver masterclass helped Cairns finish the quarter with a flurry to lead by 11 at the main break.

Adelaide threw all of their resources at the Taipans in the third term as star big man Daniel Johnson dominated across the court, backed up by import Jerome Randle.

The visitors drew within seven points on a handful of occasions before Cairns accelerated again.

Imports DJ Newbill (28 points), Scott Machado (21) and Oliver (24 and 15 rebounds) were consistent all night, while reserve guard Jarrod Kenny (11 points) lifted his side with three consecutive three-pointers to close out the third term to give his side a 14-point lead at the final change.

Adelaide struggled to put up a fight in the closing quarter as a packed Cairns stadium lifted the Taipans into the finals.

Adelaide star Johnson would be left to rue his team's performance after producing one of his career-best games.

The power forward knocked down 38 points, shot at 55 per cent from the field and banked six from international waters.

Randle would also finish with a triple-double, collecting 21 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds, but did not have the influence coach Joey Wright was hoping for.

The 13-10 Taipans should almost certainly play finals with five matches remaining. Their next match is against South East Melbourne on Australia Day.

Adelaide (11-12) can still feature in the NBL post-season but are competing with five clubs for one spot in the run home.