The New Zealand Breakers showcased their champion qualities
by conjuring a miraculous come-from-behind 71-66 victory over
the Adelaide 36ers in the NBL game in Adelaide last night.
Americans Will Hudson (23 points, 11 rebounds) and Cedric
Jackson (17 points, 7 assists) were supreme as the
fast-finishing Breakers overturned a 21-point half-time
Still trailing 61-47 at three-quarter-time, the visitors then
rattled off 13 straight points en route to a 24-5 final term,
shell-shocking the Sixers who were booed by their home fans
as they succumbed to their fifth straight loss.
"It's devastating for everybody - staff, players, fans,"
Adelaide coach Marty Clarke said.
"The guys serviced Luke (Schenscher) well and got him the
ball. But somewhere, somehow something changed. The game
became more physical.
"They cranked up the defence and that's the reason they've
won two championships. We just couldn't go with them."
Twin towers Luke Schenscher (25 points, 16 boards) and Daniel
Johnson (15, 8) made the Breakers look flat-footed and
under-sized early as the hosts looked set for one of the
upsets of the season and led 49-28 at half-time.
The visitors hustled the Sixers with an aggressive full-court
press to start the third stanza with a 6-0 burst.
Schenscher's powerful two-handed put-back jam off a missed
Weigh free throw was the highlight of the third stanza, which
Adelaide finished 14 points in front.
But the 36ers could no longer find their big men under
pressure and Hudson and Jackson took over, scoring the first
13 points of the final period, Weigh's triple with 3min 46sec
remaining Adelaide's first fourth-quarter score.
Jackson's steal and lay-up from an Adelaide inbounds sliced
the gap to a single point and he came up big again with a
huge three to give New Zealand the lead.
"We just kept believing the whole game and that was the most
important thing whether we won it or not," New Zealand coach
Andrej Lemanis said.
"We kept believing the whole second half. Keeping them to 17
points in a half after they scored 49 in the first (half) was
a big key for us.
"They kicked our ass in the first half. One of the things I
said to the guys is if you get down 21 points in a half, you
can get up by 21 points in a half."