Breakers' form continues with 36ers win
The Breakers road show keeps on rolling.
With usual supporting acts Daryl Corletto and Leon Henry stepping up into starring roles, and Mika Vukona producing an all-round masterclass, the New Zealand Breakers today took care of business in Adelaide with an 84-66 victory over the 36ers.
The win is the Breakers' seventh straight as they improve their NBL-best record to 15-3 and their fifth on the trot away from home as they continue their outstanding road form over the summer.
The Breakers have now won all 11 games over the 36ers since Marty Clarke took over as coach of the Adelaide club.
Both teams went into the game without their starting centres, with Alex Pledger sitting out for the Breakers with a sore ankle, and Luke Schenscher out injured for the 36ers.
A tight game that was level at the end of the first two quarters was broken open in the third period when Corletto and Henry got hot to take the contest away from the home side.
Corletto made 10 straight points as the Breakers opened the third quarter on a 12-0 run and then Henry weighed in with back to back triples and a dunk as the league leaders extended their surge to 18-2.
The Breakers won the third period 24-10 and that left the 36ers just too much to do over the run home as the back-to-back champions kept making enough baskets to keep the home team at bay.
Vukona, who had called out his team-mates prior to the game to lift their levels, had a brilliant outing, going eight-of-12 from the floor for 16 points and adding seven rebounds and six assists.
Corletto, a sharpshooter who you just can't leave open, got things rolling nicely in that third period and finished with 15 points on six-of-nine shooting, including three of six from downtown.
Cedric Jackson had 11 points, eight boards, six assists and three steals as he was content for the most part to let his team-mates take on the offensive burden, while Tom Abercrombie also had 11 points (5/10 FG) and five rebounds in a nicely controlled performance.
Henry's efforts should also be applauded. The aggressive small forward has elevated his game in recent weeks and his 10 points (4/11 FG, 2/6 3PT) and four boards was a crucial contribution.
Corey Webster, Will Hudson, Dillon Boucher and CJ Bruton also played their parts as the depth of the Breakers - even down Pledger - was just too much for the 36ers to handle.
"There's been a lot made of our close wins over the last few weeks," said Corletto afterwards. "We pride ourselves on running 10 deep and we have different people stepping up on different nights.
"Seven straight is good, but we've still got work to do, and plenty to build on. We've had a pretty tough run the last few weeks but we're building nicely towards the finals."
The Breakers return home now for another home-away double, with the Sydney Kings at the NSEC on Thursday and then a short-turnaround Saturday visit to Wollongong.
NZ Breakers 84 (Mika Vukona 16, Daryl Corletto 15, Cedric Jackson 11, Tom Abercrombie 11, Leon Henry 10), Adelaide 36ers 66 (Anthony Petrie 19, Adam Gibson 10). 1Q: 18-18; HT: 38-38; 3Q: 62-48.