Mika Vukona played his 300th NBL game in Cairns last Saturday night but unfortunately it was far from a celebratory mood in the SKY CITY Breakers camp as the team slipped to a disappointing 92-87 defeat. The nature of the defeat summed up the season, the team looking likely winners but unable to close out the game in the final minutes – the Breakers eighth close loss of the season. In games decided by five points or less this season they are 2-8, in 2012-13 they were 10-0.
There were a couple of highlights in the 102-99 victory over the Townsville Crocodiles at NSEC last week. Tom Abercrombie’s season high 29 points to go with a couple of blocks and four rebounds was a terrific performance. Equally pleasing was the sight of CJ Bruton making a major contribution to the win. The classy guard has had a quiet season by his standards but his 14 points/6 assists/2 steals effort was vintage CJ and more like the performances we remember from the Breakers championship seasons.
The Melbourne Tigers, playing their first ever game at Vector Arena on Friday are striving to hold onto a top four spot on the NBL ladder. They boast a 12-12 record but have struggled of late losing four straight games and will be desperate to get back to winning ways. The Tigers are well served in the guard positions with import Mustapha Farrakhan and Nate Tomlinson sharing the point guard duties and prolific scorer Chris Goulding in the two spot. Goulding averages 21 points per game this season and will be a major threat to the Breakers.
Seven-foot centre, Canadian Scott Morrison, the classy Mark Worthington and veterans Adam Ballinger and Tommy Greer will keep the Breakers forwards busy. The Breakers have shaded the rebound count 101-94 over the three previous encounters but Messer’s Wilkinson, Frank and Vukona will need to be on their mettle to maintain parity on the boards.
The Breakers have won two of the three encounters between the two sides this season. Anything less than another win for the home side will bring to an end their quest for a play-off position.