The last three rounds of the NBL are here and like recent seasons before it’s going to be a fight for teams having a post season. It really does not get much better than this in the NBL. The Breakers have been putting up numbers in recent weeks and keeping the playoff chances alive.
Shawn Long has been making waves around the NBL and the last 10 games has been unstoppable earning the title Mr Double Double. Expect a huge and at times epic match-up between Long and Josh Boone, until Shawn arrived Boone has been the most dominating big man in the NBL. But in short if they win 5 of the next four there will be a post season. But in their way is last years Champions Melbourne United at the helm Dean Vickerman and assistant coach Paul Henrea both ex head coaches of the Breakers and know they can get up in any given day.
Skycity Breakers NZ vs Melbourne United
Spark Arena – Auckland
By: Leon Taylor – Basketball Yeti
First Quarter and Anticipation is huge in the crowd. Tom Abercrombie starts with a layup and Josh Boone replied down the other end. David Barlow fouled by Tai Wesley hits 2/2. Shawn step back jumper over Boone. Shea gets his scoring going converting an and one. Tai Wesley gets the three and Breakers lead. Melbourne use good ball movement and Casper Ware hits the jumper.
David Barlow hits a three in transition and snatch back the lead Breakers 10-11 United 5:47. DJ Kennedy drives the lane sending Abercrombie to the floor and Melbourne go up five with five minutes to play. Shawn Long gets a steal and takes it up and flattened Casper Ware and offensive foul called and Melbourne get the ball back. Breakers defend and Weeks three. Barlow replies at the top of the key 13-18 3:07. More urgency required from the Breakers in defence transition as Melbourne carve it up inside and a nine point lead with 2:11 to play. Weeks is fouled inside and hits 2/2 to easy the deficit. Miller drives the base line for a dunk and the Melbourne bench erupt. Long dunks. Armani Moore spin move layup. Tom feeds the ball to Long for a monster dunk and closes the gap to 9.
First Quarter: Breakers 21-30 United
Second Quarter and Melbourne doing a great job of disrupting the paint and Pledger gets United’s scoring. Goulding three and deep Barlow two. Melbourne are building a serious lead. Shawn Long makes light work of ex Breaker Alex Pledger who could and makes the and one. Abercrombie fouled by Alex makes 2/2 Breakers 26-37 United 7:36. Breakers defence steps up and Melbourne start turn before Boone gets 2 alleyoop dunks and Goulding three and quickly Melbourne up 15 and KB calls a Breakers timeout. Melbourne doing a great job of collapsing the Breakers zone defence and scoring at the other end with Goulding getting another three and get a huge 26 point lead. Finn comes off the bench and gets scoring going. Weeks hits a very deep three to close the half but hardly touches the sides after a 29-13 second quarter from Melbourne United crushes the Breakers in the paint and now out shooting 24/40 60% shooting to Breakers 12/38 31%.
Halftime: Wildcats – Breakers 34-59 United
Third Quarter and DJ Kennedy with a uncontested corner three is not the way Breakers want to start. Tai Wesley muscles inside. Boone down the other end. Boone again. Long inside is fouled hits the and one. Long three over Boone Breakers 44-71 United. Abercrombie floater. Deep Goulding two and Breakers start to hang their heads. Finn Delany with the put back and next possession with the hook. Goulding shoots a three from the car park and Melbourne go up 29 Breakers 50-79 United 3:03. Armani Moore makes good use of the rubbish with layup. Breakers defend and get the ball back Jarrad Weeks hits the layup in traffic and hits the and one. Moore backs in on Goulding and hits it off the glass. Abercrombie with the put back and the gap is looking to large to comeback.
Third Quarter:Wildcats – Breakers 59-83 United
Fourth Quarter and Armani Moore picks Casper’s pocket and gets the run away layup. Armani gets the feed on the drive and gets the layup over three defenders. Melbourne look to push and find Boone under the basket and he is fouled hard by Tom Abercrombie and is called for an unsportsmanlike foul. But Josh Boone misses 0/2. Armani Moore moves the ball in transition to find an open Corey Webster three closes the gap to 19 Breakers 66-85 United 7:21. Melbourne’s David Barlow hits a tough three and Finn Delany replies with a three. Weeks gets smashed and called for a technical when he doesn’t get call Breakers 74-90 United 5:32. David Barlow and Peter Hooley left wide open at the top and hits two three for Melbourne and back up 20. Goulding by with another three and Melbourne hit one hundred. Armani Moore works hard inside and gets it off the glass and hits the and one. Du Kennedy with the put back and Melbourne are starting to push the boat out. Long feed to Shea and the layup. Jordan Ngatai gets some court time and does the coast to coast and finishes doesn’t convert and one. Weeks drives the lanes finishes high off the glass.
Fulltime: Breakers 87-107 United
Game Round-up and Thoughts: With poor defence in the first half left the Breakers scrambling. Melbourne often collapsing the Breakers zone defence and United looking for the extra pass meaning their offence never stopped.
It may be almost over for playoff chances, unless they win all 5 remanding games and other teams to lose. It’s games like that can be hard to watch as a fan, when what was working had been destroyed by Melbourne and Breakers hung their heads low too early. Off to play them again in Melbourne Sunday and it’s nothing short of a tall task.
Breakers – United Video Highlights: