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Taipans find offence to shock United on the road

Cairns have shocked Melbourne United on the ladder-leader's home court, snapping a three-game losing streak thanks to a historic first half onslaught.

The league's worst offensive team this season exploded on Sunday, with Patrick Miller and surprise starter Josh Roberts the stars in a 115-103 NBL upset.

After a quiet Friday night in a loss to Brisbane, Miller (32 points, 10 assists) was almost perfect in a 21-point first half to put the visitors ahead 67-51.

The guard knocked down his eighth shot from nine attempts - most of them contested - on the buzzer and had six assists as the Cairns set a club record half-time score on the road.

It was more points than United coach Dean Vickerman had ever given up in a half as an NBL coach and the most by any team this season.

Roberts (22 points, three blocks, 10-of-11 shooting) averaged just five minutes per game this season but was thrust into the starting five after some positive signs late against the Bullets.

He flourished in a match-up with Jo Lual-Acuil, creating his own shots and profiting with some easy buckets thanks to the vision around the rim of Tahjere McCall's (23 points, six assists, four steals).

But United kept firing, with Chris Goulding (23 points, five-of-eight triples) good from deep and Matthew Dellavedova (21 points, nine assists) finding joy with regular lob passes to flying teammates Ariel Hukporti and Luke Travers.

They cut the lead to eight in the third term but it was back to 12 at the final break.

Goulding free throws again whittled the margin back to single figures but the Taipans scrambled on defence and made enough plays at the other end to retain a buffer.

A Bul Kuol triple with four minutes to play silenced a crowd that was sensing a comeback, effectively icing the contest to push the Taipans to 5-7 and drop Melbourne to 10-3.