NZ Breakers routed by 36ers in Adelaide
It was men against boys as the Breakers crashed to their 10th defeat of the Australian NBL season in Adelaide on Saturday night.
A smart and well-drilled Adelaide side mercilessly pounded the ball inside on the woefully out-matched Breakers to cruise to the most comfortable of victories, 99-73, solidifying their position in second place in the ANBL standings.
It was an ominous result too as the 36ers improved to 11-4, completing a third straight victory for the season over the fading champions, and the Breakers dropped to 5-10.
The Breakers were playing their second game without starting centre Alex Pledger (ankle injury) and after surprising the Kings in Sydney last week, they were badly exposed by a much better 36ers outfit on their home floor.
The Breakers have no size to speak of, apart from Gary Wilkinson, whose defence is marginal at best, and Mika Vukona, who fouls too much to be relied on for extended minutes. Their roster shortcomings have been badly exposed by Pledger's injury.
The 36ers, well indoctrinated by coach Joey Wright, recognised where their advantages lay and simply took the ball to the rack at will, making too many layups or putbacks to offer the visitors any hope.
The 36ers won points in the paint by an astonishing 58-28, telling the story of the game in a snapshot. They also shot a stellar 50 percent from the floor (42/84 FG), while keeping the Breakers to just 39 (28/72 FG).
The Breakers were not just pummelled on the scoreboard either. Adelaide won the rebound count 52-29 (13-6 at the offensive end) and the assists 25-14. It was one-way traffic for pretty much the entire night.
Tom Abercrombie finished with 24 points, three rebounds and three blocks to provide the sole resistance of note from the Auckland club. Wilkinson (13 points on five-of-14 shooting), Corey Webster (11 points, 4/11 FG) and Kerron Johnson (10 points, 5/14 FG) chipped in with the chief support. Mika Vukona played just 16 minutes before fouling out.
The 36ers were led by 26 points (9/18 FG) and nine rebounds by big man Daniel Johnson, while Mitchell Creek sliced to the rim at will to add 20 points on nine-of-12 shooting. Anthony Petrie (10 points, 13 rebounds) and Luke Schenscher (13 points, 11 rebounds) both added double-doubles for the dominant Adelaide side.
The 36ers had it pretty much all their own way through the first half as they built a 50-35 lead by the major break.
They 36ers scored 36 of their 50 first-half points in the paint. What was worse the Breakers shot a miserable 33 percent (13-of-39) themselves.
The 36ers extended their advantage to 24 after a dominant third quarter and with Wilkinson and Vukona both battling foul trouble there was no chance of a run from the Breakers over the final stanza.
The Breakers travel to Melbourne next Friday and the Tigers must be licking their lips at the prospect of taking on that soft frontline.
Adelaide 36ers 99 (Daniel Johnson 26, Mitch Creek 20, Luke Schenscher 13, Jarrid Frye 11, Anthony Petrie 10) NZ Breakers 73 (Tom Abercrombie 24, Gary Wilkinson 13, Corey Webster 11, Kerron Johnson 10). 1Q: 26-12; HT: 50-35; 3Q: 72-48.