good rhythm and a good flow offensively
By Murray McKinnon
The Breakers downed an undermanned Melbourne United side 100-63 and Illawarra Hawks beat the Adelaide 36ers 106-95 to leave the Breakers clear in fourth on the ladder and into the playoffs against top of the table Melbourne.
After Melbourne left three of the their key players Chris Goulding, Daniel Kickert and Hakim Warrick at home, the game was always going to be one sided in the Breakers favour and they duly led through all four quarters, 22-16, 53-34 at the half and 76-47 and the three quarter.
Cedric Jackson was outstanding from the arc with four threes, he also had six assists and ended with 17 points, Charles Jackson was on 18 and Corey Webster 17.
Dean Vickerman was aware before the game that Melbourne were likely to be down in man power.
“I heard a whisper yesterday that Goulding wasn’t coming and after hearing that he wasn’t coming I thought there would be a couple of other people would follow as well and not come.”
“At that point I felt we had some advantages on the boards I thought we would dominate the boards and dominate the inside and if we could still restrict their three point shot it is something we’ve got to keep working on against this team and we gave it a good job in both those areas,” said Vickerman.
“It was a real final for us tonight,” he added.
Thomas Abercrombie who scored 14 said that the team still went into the game with full on intensity.
“I thought we did a great job of coming out with the right mind set. And the intensity was there and we were able to build a good lead which is what we needed to do and rest guys down the stretch.
We wanted to send off Dean and Richard in their final home game in the right way and play in the right way for them so it was really nice that we were able to give those two a really fitting send off because that’s exactly what they deserve.”
“They’ve given a whole lot to the Club over a number of years so they deserved nothing less than a hundred percent effort from all of us out there. I thought the starters brought it and the guys that came off the bench did a great job as well with the opportunity they were given and they enjoyed that extra time out there and played really well,” said Abercrombie.
“Sunday’s game over there they are a different animal and have incredible home support and Melbourne’s really gets behind them,” he added.
Melbourne coach Dean Demopolous said that he wanted to rest his key players before the finals.
“Just overall they have aches and pains so it’s a good opportunity to give them a chance to recover a little bit, they’ve been hurt for a while now so it gave a chance for some guys to play who haven’t, so that’s about it.
“We’re in the playoffs so it was a strategic decision but it was more based on how they felt than anything else,” he said.
Asked if he gave this game away by not bringing those guys.
“Not at all, I thought we had an excellent chance to play better than we did, give New Zealand credit they’re a very good basketball team, there are champions so they seized the moment. We didn’t take advantage of the opportunity as well as I would have liked but that’s the way it goes and we’ll strap it up on Sunday,” he said.
Kyle Adnam off the bench played well top scoring for Melbourne with 16.
“He’s a young kid and he has a great spirit. And I’m glad he had the opportunity to play.”
Vickerman is delighted to make the playoffs.
“We dug a pretty deep hole for ourselves with consecutive losses and that’s just a credit to the group that we were able to get out of it, we found a way to climb and scratch out of it and now put ourselves in the situation where we’ve got the opportunity for the playoffs we’ve got the opportunity to win a championship right now,” he said.
Abercrombie feels that the team has come together well over the last few weeks.
“We’re playing good basketball right now, we’ve had a real focus on ball movement and shooting the basketball these last few weeks and we’re starting to see that show out in the games and the way we’re able to play for each other out there and I think we’re starting to get a good rhythm and a good flow offensively, we’ve been a good defensive team all year and that’s been able to stay steady and now we’re starting to see that confidence in the swag on the offensive end,” he said.