The struggling Sixers pulled out a thrilling 71-68 victory over the Taipans that leaves both teams fighting over bottom spot in the NBL with seven wins apiece. Cairns has played two less games than Adelaide so far, though, leaving the 36ers still sitting last but only just.
At 7-14, the loss all but ends Cairns' finals hopes that were already incredibly slim but the Taipans only have themselves to blame.
Traditionally, Cairns' home court advantage has been one of the strongest in the league with opposition wins in the Snake Pit like gold, but this season that has dramatically turned around.
Amazingly, Cairns has a better road record so far in the 2012-13 campaign than at home having won just three of 10 games in their home building, but four of 11 on the road.
It took a tremendous comeback for Adelaide to prevail as well. Cairns started on fire with an especially dominant 20-8 second quarter to lead 47-29 at half-time.
The Sixers' hit back a little in the third period to trail by 13 at three quarter-time after being 18 down at half-time, but then the 36ers completely dominated the last quarter winning it 26-10 to claim the match by three points.
It is just Adelaide's second victory since November 16 last year with them having won only one of 13 games since that time coming into Saturday night's trip to Cairns.
While the Sixers' form has been dismal, Cairns was coming up off a win in Sydney on Friday night and had to fly home to get ready to take on the Sixers.
As a result, coach Aaron Fearne tried to limit the time his stars had to spend on the court by giving minutes to development players Shaun Bruce and Matt Andronicos, but whether it was fatigue or not, the fadeout in the second half cost Cairns an important victory.
Adelaide played well in the second half, though, with Anthony Petrie outstanding to finish with 18 points, eight rebounds and three blocks. Daniel Johnson had 17 points and 11 rebounds, Adam Gibson 16 points, four boards and four assists, and Jason Cadee eight points.
Adelaide coach Marty Clarke was proud of how the team had continued to toil despite a season filled with disappointment.
"You've got to enjoy every victory as a sportsman. We haven't let the results sway our work this season and that's why I think this win is deserved," Clarke said.
"It's just about believing in yourself. Defence keeps you in the game. Eventually teams start missing, that's the way it goes."
Cam Tragardh top-scored for Cairns with 14 points to go with his 14 rebounds and three assists. Shane Edwards had 12 points for the Taipans, Jamar Wilson 12 and Aaron Grabau 11 in just nine minutes of court time.
After a 21-point second half followed 47 in the first two quarters, Taipans coach Fearne blasted his side, labelling them soft and susceptible.
"It's been there for a majority of this season. This underbelly is there, I'm not going to hide it," he said.
"We've had big leads and we've turned around and lost by 10."That killer instinct that the good teams have just is not there."