Calf strain likely to keep Dillon Boucher out
Backup Breakers power forward Dillon Boucher looks likely to miss tomorrow night's Australian NBL clash against the Townsville Crocodiles at the NSEC.
Boucher has been unable to train all week because of a calf strain and Breakers coach Andrej Lemanis admitted after practice today that he was preparing to play without his veteran X-factor man off the bench.
"We'll make a decision tomorrow, but right now it's not looking good," said Lemanis as he completed a quality week or practice following last Friday's first victory of the season, over the Adelaide 36ers.
If Boucher is unable to go, Lemanis indicated he would look to backup centre Will Hudson and the adaptable Leon Henry, who was not required for action last Friday, to provide the bulk of the minutes in relief of starting power forward Mika Vukona.
"Will has already shown he can spend some time in the four spot no problem at all, and one of the things we've spoken about for Leon is his opportunities to play will be in multiple positions. This week they may come at power forward."
The coach was looking for more of the same from his team on defence this week after they put a real stranglehold on the dangerous 36ers.
"The effort level was unbelievable against Adelaide, and that's where it needs to be for us to be good," said Lemanis who confirmed a review of the game tape left him even more impressed than he'd been on the night.
"Normally when you've won it's not as good as what it felt like on the night. But this was one of those rare times when I was actually more pleased going through the tape. The effort areas were just sensational.
"A lot of times we didn't get rewarded at the offensive end. We missed a lot of bunnies, we missed layups, and that stuff will come with rhythm. But our defence and our effort gave us an opportunity to win that game."
Things are not quite so sweet at the other end of the court, where the Breakers have yet to find the sort of scoring rhythm that's there when they're at their best.
It doesn't help that Tom Abercrombie and CJ Bruton have both made slow starts to the season, or that Mika Vukona has yet to find his shooting range.
But Lemanis is less concerned with scoring droughts - the Breakers had a combined 25 points in the middle two quarters last Friday - than he was with a passive defensive effort in their season opener.
"If we maintain that defensive intensity and maintain that energy over the course of 40 minutes we believe somewhere cracks are going to appear. When exactly, who knows?
"They came in the fourth quarter last week when we started to find our rhythm a little bit, and at practice this week we've been smoother again. It's one of those things we'll keep building and at this stage of the year it's good we've still got some improvement left."
Townsville look ripe for the picking if their first two games are anything to go by. They shot 39 percent in their opening loss to the Cairns Taipans and then a miserable 29 in last week's walloping by the Perth Wildcats, including just four second-half field goals.
"They're a team that relies on shooting the ball well, and so far their normal great shooters haven't been putting the ball in the basket," said Lemanis.
"But it's one of those situations where they're 0-2 and they'll be a little fired up, as we were last week, coming off a loss and one they were not happy with.
"It sharpens the focus a bit so obviously they're in that state of mind and we need to be clear we need to be in that state of mind as well."
The Crocs have their own injury concerns, with starting power forward Jacob Holmes doubtful with a knee injury, and Peter Crawford (knee) and import point guard Gary Ervin (toe) both looking to play through a little pain.
The game tips off at 7.40pm.
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