Taipans break NZ to finish top of NBL ladder

A GAME-high 25 points from American guard Scotty Wilbekin has helped the Cairns Taipans beat the New Zealand Breakers 81-77 in Auckland to finish on top of the NBL ladder.

The teams were locked on 20 wins for the season prior to the match, but Wilbekin, combined with 23 points from big man Alex Loughton, was enough to get the Taipans home.

Cairns will now have home-court advantage throughout the finals, while the Breakers will also be at home in next weekend's semi-finals.

In other results yesterday, Melbourne beat the Sydney Kings by three points for the second time in 48 hours. After a 91-88 victory in Sydney on Friday night, Melbourne repeated the dose at home, 95-92, to finish the season in fifth place.

Also on Friday night, the red-hot Adelaide 36ers extended their winning run to nine games, jumping ahead of Perth into third after beating the Wildcats 101-94.