The Sky City Breakers head coach Dean Vickerman shared his thoughts with the media following the 85-76 home loss to the Cairns Taipans.
Question. How did you see the game from your point of view?
They ran on us, I thought they really got some easy baskets when we were faltering at the offensive end. They pretty much put the basketball in Scottie Wilbekin’s hands in the second half.
We got to the line more times than them in the first half and it seems like in this league right now the team that gets to the line the most gets the advantage. We made some dumb fouls there for a while that allowed them to live on the line at the end of the third quarter.
I thought our effort and intensity was so much better than last week, we just dried up for periods offensively. We were solid defensively, Wilbekin is tough and is quick, I thought we played him pretty well; he made some pretty tough shots. We guarded their post players pretty well. Wilbekin and Stephen weigh were the two who hurt us the most tonight
Q Do you think now you have played them, do you think you will be more effective against them next time? You have to play them again in a fortnight.
I hope so. One of the things they are doing so far this season is averaging under eight turnovers a game. Anytime you are holding that much possession and shooting at a reasonable clip and rebound pretty well you are going to give yourself an opportunity in every game.
We tried to disrupt up the floor and tried to force them into error but that whole group right now is pretty tuned in to what each other is doing. They are moving the basketball and know where each other are and we don’t have quite that synergy that they have at the moment.
Q Do they benefit from having a lot of guys back from last year? The Taipans have seven players who were in their team last season.
Yes. They are the best team in the league by a long way from what we have seen so far in their ability to play together. Obviously their import has come in and done a good job of learning their systems very quickly. Again we got out rebounded in the second half, it’s one of our advantages, we are a dominant rebounding team, it is one of the things we do well but they were a bit more committed to coming up with those rebounds in the second half.
Q Things that you did well?
I thought once we found some offence that really moved the ball from side to side we really looked much better, really attacking, it allowed a lot more people to get involved.
They played periods of zone and we handled that ok but we still have a couple of areas offensively that we need to work on. Our ball movement was much better in the fourth quarter than it was in the third when we got into trouble.
Q How did you think import Ekene Ibekwe played?
I thought he was good tonight, made good decisions, attacked the rim and did a good job on the post defence.
Q The Taipans are a little more advanced, can you get up to that speed?
I hope so, that’s definitely the challenge.
We won a couple of games early on when we got great momentum, took some tough shots that we made and got good margins. Tonight was a good test for us, against a team that were really solid defensively, don’t give you anything cheap they did some different things in doubling the post and new things we need to be able to deal with.
I think holding them to 85 points at not an unbelievable percentage either I thought we were pretty solid defensively. I thought tonight really it was our offense that really needs to get better
Q Free throws a concern? The Breakers shot just 14 from 24
Not a concern, we just have got to be better. I’m happy that we are getting to the line, I want us to get 21 to 25 free throws a game. We have to get our percentage up to that 75% mark as soon as we can.
Q With Ibekwe’s contribution off the bench, will there be lines up change come Sunday?
Again we just needed to see if Alex is going to be better to start or not to start, so it’s something we will keep looking at. Ekene stayed out of trouble and got to finish the game tonight and helped us around the rim and did some good things.
Q You have two days between games this weekend rather than one, that must help?
It helps with your preparation and recovery and one of the things we learnt from last week is that you need at least one good practice session between games so we will get one good practice before we leave on Saturday.
We will still want to do a little bit more over there (Wollongong) before we go and play. The change in the schedule means that you have got to find quick hit sessions this year. We missed one of those last week and we need to make sure we get it this week going into the game on Sunday.
The Breakers meet Wollongong Hawks on Sunday afternoon in Wollongong.