Slick Snakes rattle Sixers as NBL finals loom

The Cairns Taipans continued their relentless charge towards the NBL finals with a comprehensive 99-80 victory over a dispirited and seemingly distracted Adelaide 36ers at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre.

Cam Oliver (31 points, 11 rebounds) was a dominant force on Saturday for the Taipans who, after opening with a 7-0 burst, were never headed nor seriously threatened in posting their fourth successive win.

With their finals hopes gone and speculation rife since Thursday that coach Joey Wright is set to walk away with two years left on his contract -- Wright offered "I'm here if they want me" when interviewed pre-game -- the Sixers looked off the pace and absent minded from the outset.

Eric Griffin had successive monster dunk attempts rejected by Oliver and Majok Deng while Adelaide's misfiring, stagnant offence combined with a lack of defensive urgency allowed Cairns to skip ahead 27-20 at quarter-time.

The 36ers drew within two on a Daniel Johnson-inspired a 7-0 second-quarter spurt before Cairns, spearheaded by Oliver, reasserted their dominance and led 57-45 at half-time.

Oliver remained supreme, throwing down a breathtaking 360-degree dunk early in the third as the slick Snakes' advantage blew out to 74-55 shortly before three-quarter time.

Energetic reserve Jack McVeigh, who was arguably the only Sixer to impress, splashed back-to-back triples and Harry Froling followed up with a trey of his own as Adelaide sliced the deficit to single digits early in the fourth.

But it was Oliver, again, who put the 36ers to the sword, piloting an 11-0 run to brutally expose the massive gulf between the two teams.