Basketball: Breakers bounce back with big win

Cedric Jackson of the Breakers attacks the basket.  (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
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 four-game roadtrip.

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 the body."

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 major break.

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 arrears.

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

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