Breakers cap off tremendous regular season with overtime win – semi-finals bound

The Sky Sport Breakers began the season with an overtime loss at Melbourne United and finished their regular season campaign with an 80-75 extra time win in Brisbane against the Bullets.

The 26 games in between saw the Breakers carve out a further 17 victories, 11 of those away from New Zealand – an 11-3 road record the best in NBL’23.

It’s also matches the road record of the all-conquering 2012-13 team that only lost four games all season in its championship winning run.

The Breakers final two regular season games were at Illawarra Hawks on Thursday and at the Brisbane Bullets 48 hours later.

At Illawarra the Breakers had to overcome a 16-point (50-34) half-time deficit to defeat a spirited Hawks outfit and lock in a top three finish. With Cairns Taipans winning in Perth the following evening the Breakers faced a trip to Queensland to secure the coveted second spot on the ladder and with it an automatic semi-final berth.

It wasn’t pretty last night, neither was it at Illawarra for long stretches, but this Breakers team has some inner steal and it was on display in abundance in the final two games.

It was perhaps fitting that the Breakers longest serving player, Tom Abercrombie (playing his 391st game for the club) produced the game winning play. His fourth steal of the night, with 14 seconds to play in the overtime period, meant the Breakers were able to extend their lead from three points to five, secure the win, and return home for a first semi-final series since being swept 2-0 by Melbourne United in 2018.

Abercrombie finished with a season high 14 points with other notable contributions coming from the club’s leading scorer Jarrell Brantley (19 points), Will McDowell-White (15 points, 9 assists and 8 rebounds), Izayah Le’afa (12 points) and Tom Vodanovich (10 points).

The Breakers can now rest up for a couple of days as they await the outcome of the third versus fourth play-off game between Cairns Taipans and Tasmania Jack Jumpers. The Breakers will face the winner of that contest in a three game series – dates to be announced in the coming days.

Some other numbers from Round 18:

At Illawarra on Thursday:

Rob Loe, with his first rebound of the game, claimed his 500th for the club – the 13th Breaker to reach that mark.

Tom Vodanovich scored 2 points bringing up 100 points for the season.

At Brisbane on Saturday:

For Rob Loe it was his 64th win for the Breakers moving him ahead of Daryl Corletto (63 wins) as the 11th “winningest” Breaker of all-time.

Will McDowell-White, with 15 points in the game, passed 600 career points (589 for the Breakers).

The regular season record of 18-10 has only been bettered in the four championship winning campaigns.

22-6 (2010-11 first championship year)

21-7 (2011-12 second championship year)

24-4 (2012-13 third championship year)

19-9 (2014-15 fourth championship year)

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