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  • Writer's pictureFlow Australia

Cairns, Breakers denied fairytale NBA pre-season wins

The Washington Wizards have carved up Cairns and Portland sprinted away from an early New Zealand Breakers test to emphatically shut down another NBL upset in the United States.

Justin Minaya shoots over New Zealand Breakers guard Will McDowell-White during the second half of an NBA preseason basketball game in Portland, Ore., Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2023. Image AAP

Adelaide made history last year when they shocked the Phoenix Suns - the NBA's best regular season team the year prior - to become the first NBL side to beat a NBA outfit.

Any thoughts of a repeat in Washington were quickly snuffed out though on Wednesday morning (AEDT) as Jordan Poole (18 points) and Kyle Kuzma (22 points) found their range in the side's first pre-season outing.

The hosts scored the game's first 13 points and managed 44 in total, behind 71 per cent shooting, in the first quarter.

Fresh off a regular season NBL win in Brisbane on Saturday, the Taipans missed their first six shots and were never in the hunt.

Cairns' NBA draft prospect Bobi Klintman went cold (one-of-12 from the field) but Taran Armstrong (six points, eight assists, three steals) showed flashes in front of more than 20 scouts, as did forward Akolda Gak (17 points, nine rebounds) after his NBA Summer League appearance last season.

Reigning NBL MVP Xavier Cooks had two points and three rebounds in 12 minutes for the Wizards.

The Breakers fared better in the early exchanges in Portland later on Wednesday, going to the first break level at 23-23 as the lead continually changed hands.

But the Trail Blazers slowly pulled clear, a 38-point final quarter securing a 106-66 win at the Moda Center.

Boomers forward Matisse Thybulle started for Portland and had an efficient eight points, while Australian teammate Duop Reath (12 points, five rebounds) impressed off the bench after a strong World Cup sealed an NBA call-up.

Former NBA talent Zylan Cheatham (11 points, 10 rebounds, four assists), Australian guard Will McDowell-White (11 points, five rebounds, two assists, two steals) and import guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright (19 points) were the Breakers' best.

The Taipans travel to Toronto to play the Raptors next Monday, while the Breakers meet Utah next Tuesday.

Earlier on Wednesday, Dante Exum started in the backcourt with Luka Doncic against Real Madrid in Spain.

The Australian, back in the NBA after a prolific two-year stint in Europe, impressed against the same team he was injured against in a wild brawl while playing for Partizan Belgrade earlier this year.

The 2014 No.5 draft pick had 13 points on 80 per cent shooting and nine assists, plus two blocks and two rebounds in 25 minutes.

Boomers teammate Josh Green was plus-17 points in as many minutes on court, finishing with nine points, three rebounds and three assists in a 127-123 loss.

Boomers centre Jock Landale (four points, four rebounds) began life at the Rockets with a 122-103 win against Indiana in Houston.

Patty Mills played 10 minutes in his first outing for Atlanta, scoring three points and adding a pair of assists and rebounds in a 108-107 home win over Cleveland.

And Dyson Daniels (10 points, four rebounds, two assists) impressed in almost 25 minutes for New Orleans in a loss at home to Orlando.

Recruited from Milwaukee in the off-season, Joe Ingles wasn't used by Magic coach Jamahl Mosley.


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