The Breakers put on their best offensive display of the
season against Sydney last night, making it eight straight
wins and marking their 100th home victory in style.
The two-time defending champions proved far too explosive for
their opponents at the North Shore Events Centre, equalling a
club-record winning streak and giving themselves a chance to
make it an unprecedented nine in a row on Saturday night in
The 95-76 victory over the third-placed Kings (10-10) left
the Breakers (16-3) and Perth (12-4) as the only teams in the
Australian NBL with winning records, with a rematch of last
year's grand final series firmly on the cards.
During the Breakers' winning streak, they have often found
themselves trailing inferior teams before bursting to life
and coming home strong in the second spell.
But tonight it was the opposite, as the North Shore club put
together one of their best opening halves of the campaign
before surviving a Sydney resurgence late in the game.
Coach Andrej Lemanis hesitated when asked if it was the best
he had seen his side play offence this season, describing
that facet of their game as a work in progress.
"I certainly feel over the course of the season our offence
has developed and grown," he said. "Over the last month we've
had some good offensive outputs, we've just missed some
shots. Tonight we got rewarded for getting open looks."
With Sydney storming back in the second spell, it was
fortunate the Breakers succeeded from so many of those
opening looks. The Kings almost threatened to repeat their
win over the Breakers in early December before Daryl Corletto
iced the game to register a season-high in points.
The sharp-shooter drained six three-pointers to lead all
scorers with 22, lighting the fuse early and again finding
his form when his team needed him in the fourth.
"Daryl's been busting his arse over the last few weeks
putting in extra work," Lemanis said. "When you see that,
there's no surprise he comes in and shoots six of eight from
the three-point line."
Corletto started the game with a hand as hot as any seen
during the Breakers' previous 99 home victories. The shooting
guard scored his side's first 14 points, including four
triples in four minutes, to help the Breakers jump out to an
The Australian soon took a seat but appeared to pass on his
radar to countryman CJ Bruton, who nailed back-to-back threes
of his own to boost the Breakers' buffer to double digits.
The Kings cut it to 29-20 at the end of a flowing first
quarter, but the home side's advantage soon swelled to 15 as
their energy on defence and fluency at the other end proved
Corletto couldn't replicate his opening salvo when he checked
back into the game but his side were still following his
early lead, shooting a phenomenal 8-11 from deep to lead
58-40 at the major break.
The only concern for New Zealand was the form of Sydney
centre Ian Crosswhite, with the reigning player of the week
exploiting the Breakers usually-solid interior to have 18
points at the half.
The big man's scoring touch appeared to be causing little
distress as the Breakers increased their advantage to a
game-high 22 early in the third. But 14 points in the period
from Ben Madgen enabled Sydney to stay in touch, reducing the
deficit to 11 at the final break and leaving the defending
champs with some work to do.
The margin soon slipped to single figures before Corletto
picked the right time to drain his fifth and sixth
three-pointers, putting the final nail in the Kings' coffin
and making it eight straight wins.
Breakers 95 (Corletto 22, Abercrombie 17, Bruton 12), Sydney
76 (Crosswhite 22, Madgen 20, Henry 11). HT: 58-40.
- Kris Shannon of APNZ