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Cairns yet to hit their NBL peak: Kelly

Cairns NBL coach Mike Kelly has declared his club hasn't even come close to hitting their peak, after suffering a first loss in six NBL games.

The Taipans hot streak came to an end on Saturday, when they lost 92-83 away to ladder leaders Sydney.

They ended the day still in third spot, as fourth-placed Melbourne United lost to Adelaide.

While Cairns have been among the league's best teams over the last few weeks, Kelly was convinced the Taipans still had much more to offer.

"I think this group has a pretty high ceiling, I think we haven't got close to it yet," Kelly said..

"We've competed with every team ,whether it's Sydney, Perth, Melbourne, South East Melbourne, Adelaide, there's all good teams in this league.

"We're in that ball park and this was just one where they played better than us and had that spark.

"But it doesn't' define us and it means instead of being 6-0 In the last six games we're 5-1.

"Now we have to prepare for another really good team Adelaide, so I don't really judge distance, I just know we can get better."

Cairns have played five games from Boxing Day, but Kelly wasn't using a busy schedule as an excuse for their lacklustre performance on Saturday against a Sydney side whose defence he praised.

"I definitely think I played some guys really heavy minutes and so they might not have had their normal spark" Kelly said.

"But every team goes through it at different times, played a little heavier schedule and I think when you're playing good basketball you want to play as much as possible."

Cairns slashed a 13-point deficit to one in the third quarter on Saturday, but trailed by at least a handful of points for the vast majority of the game.

"I don't know if there was a patch other than the third (quarter) where you could say we were playing good basketball," he said.

"And that's how it's been probably the last few weeks, where we've fought through some games where we weren't playing pretty basketball.

"But the guys fight and make shots a lot of f times, so when you put those two together you put yourself in some ball games."