Lucas Walker sinks an urgent basket and decides now is the time to row up the partisan Cairns fans that sit forlornly on their bums.
The Launceston 34-year-old works hard for a foul call after being manhandled by the Illawarra defence.
The Taipans are trailing nearly all of the game.
It was one of those nights.
It’s also been one of those seasons for Walker’s side.
The rain-filled air in Cairns is typically humid outside, but this Friday home game inside the convention centre it’s cold.
“That’s when I was a bit fired up,” Walker admits.
“I wanted the crowd to make some noise and hope they were on my side about the call. So they got pretty noisy and we fought back.
“But it’s unfortunate that we couldn’t ride that energy in the end and get the W.”
Cairns is battling away with a 3-13 record this season, five wins behind at the foot of the NBL ladder.
Luckless is one way to sum up the season.
Overtime losses to Sydney Kings and Perth Wildcats playing on home court and a faltering final minute against Melbourne United has the Taipans just missing out on three triumphs against the clear title contenders.
“We have been in games a lot of the time, but we just haven’t been able to get over that hump,” Walker says.
“I think the last half [of games] we are showing a lot more fight and consistency.
“The good thing is that we have stuck together, there’s been no finger pointing and there’s no blaming anyone.”
The journeyman is now at his fourth NBL club. A fifth should Melbourne Tigers count when Walker and teammates controversially and unwittingly became a part of Melbourne United.
Walker epitomises the professional player, picking up and adapting to new locker rooms and foreign environments with aplomb.
After five seasons based out of Victoria, he spent one at Adelaide 36ers and then two at Perth Wildcats.
Success came to Walker at Perth, but the mention of the NBL championships is almost met with disdain.
“I don’t really count the NBL title win to be honest,” he frankly explains.
“Just because I was there with Perth and I wasn’t on the floor, so I really don’t consider myself to be a championship winner.
“I say I am a part of a championship because I was there throughout the season.
“I did win the coaches’ award that season, but to me to have won a championship I would say I had to be in uniform in those games.”
That was sound enough reason to move on to Cairns.
But the pain of watching Perth teammates celebrate the glory was nothing compared to the hardship at the start of the next season.
An innocuous knock to his ankle on his arrival to the Far North resulted in missing the entire preseason.
He returned for the club’s second game still in the process of rehabilitation while hanging in grim.
The 200cm forward has shot 5.9 points per game and 3.6 rebounds, mostly half fit.
But the club vice-captain, recognising the Snakes are a part of a rebuild says he’s in for the long haul, having an option on his contract to stay past its termination in May.
“I hate losing – it really makes me sick. I lose sleep over it,” Walker says.
“Everyone hates losing as we’re in a professional game. We play to win. This is our job and it’s pretty serious.
“It’s not easy having this experience [in Cairns], but I have seen all facets of winning seasons and losing seasons, and what it takes to win, the common traits of championship teams.
“Being in a different environment has been a really good experience and I can kind of bring a lot of different things to the Taipans because I have been around for a while.”
But between those stints at opposite ends of the country, Walker even now is still living up his favourite basketball moment.
That extends to a recent quick trip from Cairns back to Perth just to retrieve his Commonwealth Games gold medal that was left behind.
The medal almost never happened after his eleventh hour call-up to the Boomers.
“That was crazy,” he says.
“I got called up on the Sunday morning and was on the plane Monday morning.
“Luckily I filled out my paperwork and was eligible to play straight away.
“It was out of the blue, but it was pretty awesome.”
But the longest journey started out of the Kings Meadows YMCA when he first bounced a basketball.
It was after a family move from Devonport and his parents wanted the six-year-old to meet new friends.
“At that age, there wasn’t competition to play football that early, so they got me into basketball,” Walker says.
“I didn’t know anything about it, I didn’t know any of the rules, it was completely foreign to me and it wasn’t like my parents had ever played basketball at all.”
From West Launceston Primary to Riverside High, Walker’s abilities took him firstly to Montana State Billings University and then to St Mary’s College.
The two years at the Gaels coincided with an upstart named Patty Mills joining.
The now NBA star was one of five Australians in the side in Walker’s senior year.
“Two of the guys don’t play anymore, another is Clint Steindl who was a teammate at Perth, and the other one is Patty,” he says.
But years earlier at the AIS in Canberra was initially when Walker discovered the talents of Mills first hand.
The indigenous guard would pop into training once a week and show up the scholarship holders.
“We were all 17 or 18, and I want to say Patty was 14 or 15,” Walker said.
“He was so good that you could tell he was going to be better than good because he played so hard, had so much energy, had great hands and was really fast.”
The veteran of nine NBL seasons says basketball wasn’t his true passion.
“I wanted to play AFL more than I wanted to play pro-basketball once I got to high school,” he laughs.
“But I was already playing basketball for so much longer and I was just better at basketball, there was more opportunities ahead, so I stuck with it.
“I did get to a point when I was like 15 that I had to decide whether I wanted to play footy or basketball and basketball is just what I knew and if I left it, I would miss it. I stuck with it and I am pretty glad I did because I got to see a of the world.
“It’s been a pretty good career for the last 10 years.”