Cedric Jackson of the Breakers attacks the basket. (Photo
by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
The most dangerous team in the Australian NBL may be the
Breakers the week following defeat.
The Breakers came out with a vengeance against the Cairns
Taipans at Vector Arena last night, clinching the game by the
third quarter before strolling to a 97-76 win.
The big win went some way towards making up for last
weekend's insipid display against Sydney, pushing the
Breakers back into sole possession of first place ahead of a
The loss to the Kings was the Breakers' third of the season
but they have recovered well from each setback - winning all
three games by an average of 22 points.
Cairns may have been the perfect opposition to get back to
winning ways - they have now lost nine in a row in New
Zealand - but the Breakers' shooting would have been too hot
for almost any team.
After their starters went 9-41 from the floor against Sydney,
the Breakers shot 61 per cent as a team with Cedric Jackson
and Dillon Boucher both setting scoring marks.
Jackson surpassed the 28 points he had in his triple-double
two weeks ago by notching a career-high 32, while Boucher
managed 10 in his 200th game as a Breaker - his highest
points total in three seasons.
"Those highs are what keep you going," Boucher said. "Any
time [the team] can have a performance like that, it makes
you feel young.
"After the Sydney game I felt about 40, tonight I feel about
18. Any time we win, it's always good for a soul and good for
Boucher was adamant Jackson had the ability to make it in
America, while Lemanis admitted Jackson's 11/13 shooting
night caught him by surprise.
"That's the quietest 32 that I've seen for a long time. I was
genuinely shocked - it didn't feel like he scored that much,"
Lemanis said. "He didn't play well last week and he obviously
likes rising up to those challenges."
Jackson may have stolen the headlines but Boucher set the
tone with a typically all-action opening shift which saw him
surpass his season-best tally in the first quarter. In
addition to his usual combination of hard work and hustle,
Boucher led the Breakers with six points as the period ended
locked at 18.
The two sides could barely be separated anywhere on the box
score after 10 minutes, but the Breakers began the second
with an 8-0 run to build a small buffer.
That buffer was soon boosted to double digits thanks to
Jackson. The point guard looked determined to make amends for
a quiet game in the loss to Sydney, rattling off 11
consecutive points for the Breakers and finishing with 16 in
the second quarter alone.
Jackson was perfect from the field in the first half as the
Breakers shot 63 per cent and took a 14-point lead into the
The only concern for the Breakers heading into halftime was
the form of Tom Abercrombie. One turnover was the extent of
his contribution but the out-of-touch swingman broke his
scoring duck early in the third as the Breakers quickly
increased their advantage to 20.
That healthy gap remained heading into the fourth quarter,
with a couple of flourishes from Jackson before the buzzer,
exciting the 6700-strong crowd and keeping Cairns well in
The lead continued to grow in the fourth as Jackson ran
rampant, while Abercrombie also showed signs of life and
chimed in with seven points in quick succession.
It wasn't long before the Breakers' starters took a
satisfying seat on the bench, with the development squad
members seeing out a comfortable evening.
Breakers 97 (Jackson 32, Pledger 13, Boucher 10), Cairns 76
(Wilson 18, Edwards 15, Rychart 15). HT: 51-37.
- Kris Shannon of APNZ