Breakers down 36ers for first win of season
The New Zealand Breakers have overcome a spirited Adelaide 36ers outfit to gain their first win of the Australian National Basketball League season 73-59 at Vector Arena in Auckland.
Trailing by one point approaching the final quarter, the Breakers lifted when it mattered, going on a 18-2 burst in the opening five minutes of the fourth quarter.
American point guard Cedric Jackson was the star of the show for the Breakers draining two triples early in the fourth quarter and producing a steal, that led to another three-pointer from CJ Bruton.
Jackson then sealed the contest with a steal off Adam Gibson, before finishing the move with a basket, to put the Breakers out to a game-winning 64-49 advantage.
It was low-scoring spectacle with both teams battling with their shooting from the floor, and defence being the name of the game.
The Breakers shot just 39 per cent from the field, while the 36ers were only able to convert 36 per cent of their opportunities.
After last week's opening round 21-point thrashing against the Perth Wildcats, the two-time defending champion Breakers were determined to redeem themselves.
The Breakers came out with much more intensity and aggressiveness to start the game with big men Alex Pledger and Will Hudson leading the way in the first half.
Pledger, who had a nightmare start to the season last week, registering zero points and zero rebounds, set the tone early on with a strong block on Adelaide centre Luke Schenscher.
Pledger was prominent during the first half, scoring six points and grabbing four rebounds, to go along with two blocks.
Pledger looked a completely different player from last week, finishing with a fine double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Hudson, who had his moments against Perth, also stepped up his game, taking the ball strongly to the hoop for several dunks in the first half.
After being hammered 36-24 on the boards last week, the Breakers dominated the glass during the first half, out-rebounding Adelaide 28-14.
They won the battle of the boards for the game 49-32, hauling down 19 offensive rebounds.
The Breakers also impressed with their ability to attack the rim and pound the ball inside to their big men, scoring 42 points in the paint for the game.
Breakers' coach Andrej Lemanis would have demanded a tougher presence on the defensive end, and his team were able to do that, limiting Adelaide to just 31 first half points on 10 of 35 shooting from the field.
Adelaide fought their way back into the game with a 7-2 run to start the second half.
Back-to-back baskets from classy point guard Gibson trimmed the Breakers' lead back to two points, before a fast break finish from Anthony Petrie levelled the scores up late in the third quarter.
The 36ers outscored the Breakers 18-10 in the third to head into the final quarter up by a point.
Adelaide always looked dangerous from behind the arc, but once the Breakers' went on their outstanding scoring run in the final quarter, the 36ers were unable to respond.
New Zealand Breakers 73 (Cedric Jackson 17, Alex Pledger 15, Will Hudson 9) Adelaide 36ers 59 (Daniel Johnson 15, Anthony Petrie 13, Adam Gibson 12)
Quarter scores: (Breakers first) 21-17, 36-29, 46-47, 73-59
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