The Sky Sport Breakers celebrated their 600th NBL game with a 68-64 victory in Cairns on Sunday afternoon in the midst of a ridiculous schedule – more on that shortly.
Missing their opening 14 shots the Breakers scored just 5 points in the first quarter yet somehow recovered to force the win. Those handful of points equaled the Sydney Kings unwanted record of the least number of points in the opening period of an NBL game.
However, led by 24 points from Barry Brown Jr, the Breakers recovered to trail 32-23 at half-time and by just five (50-45) at three-quarter time before grinding out the win in the fourth to leap frog the Taipans into second place on the NBL ladder.
Given the Breakers were playing for the fourth time in 10 days, and a fourth away game in their opening six fixtures, a start of 4 wins and 2 losses probably exceeds expectations given also that the club only won 5 from 28 games in the whole of last season.
Now back to the schedule in which the NBL boffins certainly have done the Breakers no favours. Having played all 28 games in Australia last season and 29 of 36 across the ditch the season before you would have thought a little sympathy may have been forthcoming from those in charge of scheduling at NBL HQ.
Not a chance – instead, just three weeks into the season, the Breakers have already visited three Australian states, undertaken five international flights and a couple of domestic hops.
It doesn’t get any easier this week for Round 5. They return from Cairns today (Monday), fly to Adelaide on Thursday (for a game against the 36ers on Friday) then return on Saturday to play the Jack Jumpers – who won’t have played for 7 days – at Spark Arena on Sunday.
Here are the latest club records and milestones:
Lost 99-77 against South East Melbourne Phoenix at Trusts Arena on Thursday
Reuben Te Rangi and South East Melbourne have won two straight at Trusts Arena although the games were played 17 months apart!
You might recall that the Breakers returned to New Zealand after playing 29 consecutive road games in the 2021 season, completing the campaign with seven straight games on home soil. The finale was played at Trusts with SEM claiming an 83-78 win.
Only Tom Abercrombie, Rob Loe and Will McDowell-White remain on the Breakers books from that first Covid affected season.
Loe received a blooded cheek after copping some friendly fire from Tom Vodanovich but returned to snare an eighth rebound in the game and chalk up his 600th NBL career rebound (86 of those during his single season with the Cairns Taipans).
At Cairns Taipans on Sunday Won 68-64.
Will McDowell-White played his 50th game for the Breakers in Cairns.
Barry Brown Jr, with 24 points, took his tally to 60 points in his three outings. With Derek Pardon averaging 11.3ppg (and 7.3 rebounds) and Jarrell Brantley 13ppg the three imports have settled in nicely.
Achieving victory scoring 68 points is the lowest total the Breakers have scored to gain a win since the leaky roof victory at Illawarra in February 2020. Breakers won 65-52 after the game was called off with three minutes to play in that one.
Otherwise we have to go back to New Year’s Eve 2012 when the Breakers eked out a 66-61 win, also in Cairns – a certain Cedric Jackson scored 17 points that night.
For the record the Breakers are 301-299 in those 600 games.
Izayah Le’afa is four points shy of 500 career points with Will McDowell-White needing 16 more for 400 career points.
Tom Vodanovich and Rob Loe are closing in on a couple of milestone games. Loe will play NBL career game number 150 next Sunday against the Jack Jumpers while Vodanovich needs to log three more appearances for his 150th.