Cedric Jackson punishes the Taipans
Cedric Jackson may not be the saviour for the Lakers’ woes, but he’s doing just fine for his New Zealand Breakers thank you very much.
One rather over-excited media outlet made a huge leap of faith from an American hoops writer’s kite-flying tweet this week, suggesting the in-form Breakers point guard could be the solution to the problems of the superstar-laden Los Angeles Lakers of Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, Pau Gasol et al.
Though Jackson remains firmly on the NBA radar, as he’s been for the last couple of seasons, it seems highly unlikely that the Lakers look to New Zealand to solve issues that run a lot deeper than the injuries to the their top two point guards Nash and Steve Blake.
Never mind. The way Jackson’s playing he must find a gig sooner or later in the Association. But in the meantime he’s taking care of business impressively with his Breakers in the Australian NBL.
After a bit of a quiet outing in Sydney last weekend, the mercurial American was back to his MVP best tonight as he put his team on his back and led them to a bounce-back 97-76 victory over the Cairns Taipans.
Jackson was efficiency personified as he finished a special night with a career-high 32 points (11/13 FG, 2/3 3PT), five rebounds, eight assists and three steals. Just another night at the Action Jackson office as he went round Taipans defenders all game like they were cardboard cutouts.
Veteran Dillon Boucher was also not going to miss the party as the Breakers celebrated not just Christmas in front of 6677 fans at Vector Arena, but their 36-year-old power forward’s 200th game for the club.
Boucher obliged by turning back the clock to produce his first double-figure scoring display since February of 2010, underlining what a crucial figure he remains, even in his farewell campaign.
He finished with 10 points, made all four of his field goals, and added three boards and five assists in a crisply efficient display.
It was also good to see big Alex Pledger back in the groove, the Chief going six-of-10 for 13 points to go with four rebounds and three blocks as the Breakers took their record to a league-best 9-3 and made it nine home wins in a row over the Snakes.
Even Tom Abercrombie managed to shake out of his form slump, following up a scoreless first half with nine second-half points to hint at better things to come.
It had been the Jackson show in the second quarter as the former Cleveland State standout took over a game locked 18-18 at the end of a rather tentative opening period.
Jackson had 16 points in the quarter to finish the half with a perfect 18 points on six-of-six shooting, alongside four rebounds, three assists and a pair of steals.
With the American attacking the rim with impunity, the Breakers finally found some rhythm over the second quarter, edging out by 14 at the half and a decisive 20 (72-52) at the end of the third period.
From then on this game was over as the Breakers head into a four-game holiday period road stretch with their confidence well and truly restored.
NZ Breakers 97 (Cedric Jackson 32, Alex Pledger 13 Dillon Boucher 10) Cairns Taipans 76 (Jamar Wilson 18, Shane Edwards 15, Dusty Rychart 15). 1Q: 18-18; HT: 51-37; 3Q: 72-52.