Melbourne doubles up with NBL wins
Melbourne United has jumped out of the boxes as the only team to post an opening- round NBL double with wins over Townsville and Illawarra.
Defending champion New Zealand tipped off the 2015-16 NBL competition with a 19-point 90-71 loss to Adelaide, but rebounded to win the closing game of the first round 89-81 over Townsville.
On the day they unfurled their fourth championship pennant in the past five seasons, the Breakers had six players in double figures as they led from start to finish to secure their first points of the new campaign.
And they did it without inspirational captain Mika Vukona, who missed the match with a hamstring complaint, snapping an NBL-record stretch of 211 consecutive games.
Adelaide, who blitzed the Breakers in the opening game, came crashing back to earth at the hands of a slick Perth, which lived up to its tag of early title favourite with a 79-66 victory.
Sydney looked very polished in its 87-63 win over Cairns, guard Jason Cadee (19 points, four rebounds and seven assists) and forward Julian Khazzouh (nine rebounds to go with 22 points) leading the way.
Illawarra found the task of beating Melbourne without American import Kevin Lisch too much, losing its second match of the round 91-83 after going down to the Taipans on Thursday night.
Lisch suffered a painful calf injury in the five-point loss to Cairns and could struggle to play next week.
Results (home teams first): Adelaide 90 New Zealand 71, Cairns 79 Illawarra 74, Townsville 84 Melbourne 99, Sydney 87 Cairns 63, Adelaide 66 Perth 79, New Zealand 89 Townsville 81, Melbourne 93 Illawarra 81.