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The Breakers made light of a 24-hour turnaround to complete a Sunshine Swing sweep with a 73-54 win over the Taipans in Cairns last night.
The night after a nine-point victory over Townsville, the Breakers played as fresh as they have all season to record their sixth straight victory and take top spot in the Australian NBL.
The twin victories over the pair of north Queensland sides made the Breakers the first team since 2007 to manage two wins in two nights on the roadtrip known as the Sunshine Swing.
Coach Andrej Lemanis has said he thought the trip would do wonders for his side's chemistry and, after lifting their record to a league-leading 6-1, it would be hard to disagree with that assessment.
Tonight's triumph was relatively comfortable as the Breakers belied the difficulty of the short rest. They streaked out to a double-digit advantage in the opening quarter and, aside from a poor five-minute spell in the second, the lead remained that large throughout the contest.
Cedric Jackson followed up his double-double from Friday night with another dynamic effort, finishing with 20 points and 12 assists, while fellow American Will Hudson chipped in with 14 points and nine rebounds.
The Breakers showed few signs of fatigue early in the game, making use of a 9-0 run midway through the first quarter to lead by 12 at the first break.
A night after their best shooting performance of the season, the Breakers' accuracy appeared to have also made the trip north as they shot 53 per cent from the floor in the opening period.
Cairns came out the stronger side in the second, slowing the Breakers' scoring and steadily chipping away at the deficit. The Breakers' shooting percentage began to plummet as they managed only four points in the opening six minutes of the period, with their lead eventually whittled away to one.
But Jackson, as he so often does, provided the spark with a few assists in quick succession, and an alley-oop to Tom Abercrombie on the buzzer saw the visitors lead 39-31 lead at the major break.
The Breakers were doing it easily and kept the Taipans at arm's length throughout the quarter, and the 11-point edge they took into the last break appeared almost insurmountable the way they were playing.
And that proved to be the case, with the defending champions outscoring Cairns 18-10 in the final period.
Breakers 73 (Jackson 20, Hudson 14, Pledger 11), Cairns 54 (Tragardh 16, Wilson 13, Loughton 6). HT: 31-39
- Kris Shannon of APNZ