Breakers coach Andrej Lemanis has labelled this season's two heavy losses to Perth as irrelevant as his side gets set to continue their arch-rivalry with the Wildcats in Auckland tomorrow night.
Having pipped Perth for the ANBL title over the last two seasons, the Breakers have surprisingly been swamped twice by them this year - 93-72 in round one in Auckland and 89-64 in round eight in Perth.
But with his team now on a club record nine-match winning streak, Lemanis wasn't willing to dwell on the past too much as he looked into the latest rematch.
"The biggest thing is that we didn't play well in either of those games for whatever reasons," he said today.
"But at the end of the day, that has no bearing on how we are going to come and play now. It's been two months since we played them and we have certainly progressed as a team.
"I'm sure they have progressed as a team and it should be a good contest."
As the Breakers finished a training session at Vector Arena, Lemanis said confidence was good and his players were up for the occasion, although weren't buying into the media hype around the match.
"It's going to be a great game and these are the sorts of games you want to play in," he said.
"It's one versus two ... but these are the top two teams from the last 18 months and it looks like we are probably going to be in the grand final again.
"This is why you play the sport - you want to come and compete against the best." Lemanis said the size of the crowd for tomorrow night - more than 9000 after 700 extra seats were brought in - proved there was a growing appreciation for the team and their style of play.
Lemanis believed his team were a far better all-round unit now than at the beginning of the season.
He didn't hesitate to list a variety of pluses that had come out of their hot run of form.
"Firstly, we have found different ways to win in different situations. It's confidence-building that, no matter what the situation, we can still have a chance to win the game," he said.
"The defence in this period has really started to step. There have been times when we have become very tough defensively and we have generated a lot of offence out of our defence.
"Now we are getting the open shots as well, so we are starting to get some all-round, completeness.
"It's showing the depth of the group. Everyone contributes in different ways in different times."
- © Fairfax NZ News