Breakers in mindset to beat Perth – Vickerman
Despite the on-off result pattern they have mustered this season, Breakers coach Dean Vickerman believes his side is in the right "mindset" to beat Australian NBL league leaders Perth on Friday.
The defending champions hold a 6-10 record as they head to Western Australia to take on the league frontrunners, and red-hot title favourites, the Wildcats, who are 14-3.
While their record has them sitting sixth on the table – and currently out of playoff contention – the Breakers have won two of the last three matches, including a gutsy last-minute victory over the Melbourne Tigers last week.
Vickerman said it is the character shown in those victories that shows the Breakers are in the right mindset to upset Perth, who they have yet to beat this season.
"Both the Sydney win and the Melbourne win were vital games for us against teams that we are really going to fight out [playoffs spots with]," he said.
"We haven't been able to knock over a Perth or an Adelaide this year, and we've still got one game each against them on the road.
"The mindset that we're in at the moment – I think we'll go over to Perth and give it a good shake."
Television commentator Casey Frank remains in Vickerman's squad for the Perth clash on a short-term contract.
The 36-year-old played more than 15 minutes off the bench in the Breakers' 93-87 win over the Tigers last week, scoring nine points and taking two rebounds.
He will remain in the Breakers until their January 23 home game against Wollongong, which has been targeted as the return match for injured centre Alex Pledger.
Vickerman labelled Pledger "on track" in recovery, and expects the Tall Black to get a full week of practice in with the Breakers next week.
If Pledger, who will travel with the Breakers to Perth today even though he won't be playing, isn't fit for the Hawks clash next week, Vickerman said Frank will likely play one more game for the defending champions.
"If he's not right and he can't contribute where we want him to contribute, then we'll ask Casey to continue," he said.