Doubts over Hawks' championship credentials

LAINE CLARK
Last updated 00:34 03/12/2012

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Debate over the Australian NBL's best point guard may be settled for now but the jury is still out on Wollongong's championship credentials after they crashed to an upset 76-66 loss to the Taipans at Cairns on Sunday.

The Taipans (6th; 4-6) snapped a four-game losing run at home with their first success at the Cairns Convention Centre since the season-opening round in a major blow to Wollongong's title claims.

The Hawks (2nd; 7-2) flew into far north Queensland as the ladder leaders but left with their tail between their legs.

It was a fitting tribute to Cairns' Aaron Grabau and Dusty Rychart, who celebrated their 400th and 300th career games respectively.

While it kept most guessing over who would claim this seasons's crown, the argument over the ANBL's best point guard appears to be solved.

Certainly the NZ Breakers' Cedric Jackson will be backing himself for the title after upstaging former NBA guard Jonny Flynn of the Melbourne Tigers in the defending champions' 94-64 victory at home on Friday night.

While the Hawks had their feathers ruffled, the Breakers (1st; 8-2) kept their title hopes intact thanks to a breakout performance by "Action" Jackson.

He led all scorers with 28 points, along with 10 assists and 10 rebounds as well as four steals.

It was only the second triple-double since the ANBL went to 40-minute games.

In an ominous sign, the Breakers romped to their sixth win in seven games.

"I just watched everyone else's energy and fed off that," said Jackson, who was subbed out in the final term before being brought back to seal a rare triple double.

Flynn had 15 points, three assists - and six turnovers.

Some stern words from coach Shane Heal helped the Sydney Kings (4th; 7-5) bounce back from Friday night's 75-56 loss in Perth with a gutsy 88-85 road victory over the Adelaide 36ers (5th; 5-5) on Sunday.

Former 36er Aaron Bruce finished with 22 points and five assists for the Kings while teammate Ben Madgen scored 14 points despite sustaining a shoulder dislocation that should sideline him in the coming weeks.

Sydney responded well after Heal threw down the gauntlet following Friday night's defeat which snapped a three-game winning run.

"I'll tell you how they are going to recover because they are going to watch probably two hours of cut-up tape," Heal said of Friday night's loss.

"They will understand from this and see that the effort levels were unacceptable and that we got taught a lesson of how to play with desire and play physical basketball."

In other results, the Crocodiles finally snapped their season opening 10-game losing run by downing the 36ers 75-73 on Friday night.

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- AAP

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