NZ Breakers take their winning streak to 7

MARC HINTON
Last updated 21:30 16/11/2012
Breakers STD
Getty Images
TOM ABERCROMBIE: "It's just dealing with the travel and going out and playing with freedom and having fun out there."

Related Links

Bryant excited about new coach D'Antoni FIBA seeks team increase, 3x3 comp for Rio Waikato Pistons return to NBL next year Pledger becoming target for refs - Lemanis

Relevant offers

Basketball

New Zealand Breakers opt for low-key buildup on eve of hectic period It's Friday night lights for Canterbury Rams Table-topping New Zealand Breakers have room for improvement Memphis Grizzlies end Golden State Warriors' run Unheralded Atlanta Hawks still have a lot to prove Steven Adams' Oklahoma City Thunder go six straight after Phoenix Suns win Seventeen-year-old Russian basketball player dies Kobe Bryant passes Michael Jordan to become third on NBA’s career scoring list NZ basketballers make big impressions in key wins NZ Breakers fight back to take win over Melbourne United

So, this was why Gary Wilkinson was shipped off to Estonia with a kind wish and "thanks for the memories".

Alex Pledger was ready, surmised the New Zealand Breakers, and tonight at Vector the 2.16m Tall Black centre reinforced that theory with a razor-sharp performance in a 93-63 rout of the Townsville Crocodiles.

Pledger had his way with the marshmallow defence of the visitors, making eight of his 11 shots from the floor en route to 18 points (matching his career high) and seven rebounds -- showing why his coach rates him the best big man in the league.

As the now 0-9 Crocs disintegrated into a rabble, the Breakers made them pay with a commanding performance.

The threepeat-chasing Kiwis led by 21 at the half and 37 at the three-quarter mark as they played a game on a whole different level to the woeful visitors. They shot a sharp 48 percent for the match, including a useful 12-of-25 from three-point land, and thumped the Crocs on the boards (40-28) and in second-chance points (25-9).

Cedric Jackson, fresh off his second player of the week award, posted his third straight double-double with 10 points, 11 assists, four rebounds and three steals. He is the first player since Darryl McDonald in 2006 to record 10 assists or more for three consecutive games.

And it was heartening to see Tom Abercrombie (16 points on 5/12 FG) and CJ Bruton (15 points, 5/9 FG) find their strokes, as did Daryl Corletto as he swished four of his five triples for a handy dozen points.

Mika Vukona added nine boards and six points on a night when the 'flu left him short of energy, while youngster Tai Webster made his first NBL appearance late in this laugher, and rookie development player Reuben Te Rangi netted his first bucket.

The less said about the Crocs the better. They were simply awful, and that first win still looks a long, long way off.

The Breakers, at 150-149 all time in the NBL, are now over .500 for the first time since they were 1-0 with their historic first ever win over the Adelaide 36ers in October of 2003.

The victory takes the back-to-back champions to a league-best 7-1 and their win streak to seven - their second best ever, and just one short of their record tally set in 2011.

They have now also won eight of their nine games at Vector, the only loss at the downtown venue coming against the Crocs in last season's semifinal opener.

Ad Feedback

The Breakers dominated a one-sided first half where they pretty much had their way at the offensive end against a Crocs side that played the sort of defence that explains why they are now 0-9 this season.

With Pledger having a field day inside (14 first-half points on six-of-eight shooting) and Abercrombie (10 points) and Bruton (nine) able to knock down a  succession of short jumpers and runners, the Breakers edged out by eight (31-21) at the first break and 21 (50-29) by the major intermission.

A 12-4 edge on points off turnovers and a 26-12 advantage on points in the paint helped the home team, as did six assists, three steals and seven first-half points from that whirling dervish Jackson.

From there it was only a matter of how many as the Breakers did their best to entertain the large crowd of 7500. Next up is a trip to Perth for what shapes as a classic showdown against their bitter rivals.

NZ Breakers 93 (Alex Pledger 18, Thomas Abercrombie 16, CJ Bruton 15, Daryl Corletto 12, Cedric Jackson 10), Townsville Crocodiles 63 (Ben Allen 11, Gary Ervin 10 ). 1Q: 31-21; HT: 50-29; 3Q: 79-42.

- Fairfax Media

Special offers
Opinion poll

How do you expect the Breakers to perform in this season's Australian NBL?

Last season was a blip, they'll be champions once again

They'll go close to another title, beaten finalists I'd say

Playoffs for sure, but can't see them going any further

Not too excited, they'll miss the playoffs again

Vote Result

Related story: (See story)

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content