Ebbs and flows, shrugs Breakers' Lemanis
Breakers coach Andrej Lemanis is not pushing any panic buttons after his team's worst performance of the Australian NBL season on Friday night at the NSEC.
It was a case of deja-vu as the defending Australian NBL champions were thumped 81-63 by the Wollongong Hawks to drop to 5-2 for the new season. The visitors improved their record to 3-5 on a night when the Townsville Crocs also upset the Melbourne Tigers (95-88) in their house.
In the exact same round last season the Hawks came into the NSEC and secured a near identical result, running out 73-57 winners and making their hosts look like chumps.
Of course it's history that the Breakers were able to shrug off that performance and march triumphantly to an historic championship.
The feeling is that there's no reason why they can't do the same thing this season and bounce back from what really was just a bad night at the office.
"As the season goes there are ups and downs, ebbs and flows, good games and bad games," said a disappointed Lemanis. "That's just the rollercoaster that is the NBL season. It's important emotionally for us to stay focused on the things we can control.
"We've got to stay level-headed and even-keeled. Just like when you win by 20 you don't get too excited by that, when you lose by 18 you say there's some things we can fix, let's fix them and move on."
There was no hiding from the fact that the Breakers just flat-out stank. They shot 30 per cent from the floor.
Remarkably they had 20 more shots than their opponents (thanks to 17 offensive boards), yet still got thumped. That said it all really as not one of the big-name players was able to shake out of the malaise that took hold of the team.
Imports Cedric Jackson (clearly hampered by his ankle injury) and Gary Wilkinson went a collective four-of-20, and CJ Bruton, Mika Vukona and Thomas Abercrombie were not much better.
The Breakers couldn't make shots – they were a woeful three-of-18 beyond the arc – they couldn't make layups and they defended poorly. In case they haven't noticed, Rhys Martin, who top-scored with a game-high 20 points, can shoot the ball.
You wouldn't have known it the number of times he was left open for his top-of-the-key jumper.
Next up is the Taipans in Cairns next Sunday.