Breakers overcome 36ers
A final-quarter burst by Carlos Powell has helped the New Zealand Breakers to a 99-90 come-from-behind victory against a fatigued Adelaide 36ers unit at the Distinctive Homes Dome on Saturday night.
In his debut season at the club, Powell remained cool in a crisis, netting 16 points in the final period to rescue his team from a seven-point deficit early in the stanza.
The 23-year-old import finished with a game-high 34 points at 11-from-22 in the field, including 14 boards.
He was well supported by the efforts of Ben Pepper (21 points) and Brian Wethers (18), as New Zealand surged to their first victory on Adelaide soil in six attempts.
For the home team, Nick Horvath (23 points) and Willie Farley (23) led strongly from the front, while former Tiger Lanard Copeland (18) was serviceable.
Despite the return of injury-prone captain Brett Maher, the 36ers slumped to their seventh loss in 11 games to sit in the bottom four.
And with the season only being a third old, coach Phil Smyth faces the daunting challenge of maintaining his 100-percent playoffs record in his 10th season at the club.
Breakers coach Andrej Lemanis illustrated the point that applying pressure on Adelaide’s defence is what helped his team over the line.
“We only shot the ball 41.6 percent, shot poorly from the free-throw line but we knuckled down and made Adelaide take tough shots consistently and kept them to 18 (points) in the fourth quarter,” Lemanis said.
“The two effort areas of defence and rebounding is what got us over the line.”
Smyth alluded to weariness playing a factor in his team’s final quarter slide.
“The fact that we had to travel and they were here the night before resting; to get ourselves back in the game then takes too much energy to maintain it,” he said.
“Down the stretch, fatigue was a factor for us.”
An 11-point opening quarter by Wethers helped his team overcome a 7-6 deficit with seven minutes remaining, as the Breakers went on a 25-14 rampage to lead by 10 at the first break.
That deficit was cut to three by the 36ers as Horvath guided his team back into the contest with 10 points for the period.
Though, led by Powell (eight) and Oscar Forman (six), against his former side, New Zealand carried a 52-46 advantage into half time.
NBL Championship - Round 7|
@ the Distinctive Homes Dome|
Farley had his most productive quarter for the game, shooting eight in the third stanza as Adelaide snatched back the lead late in the quarter for the first time since the opening minutes of the game.
The Breakers stopped the rot, though, and shot five consecutive points without reply to end the term with a 74-72 lead.
A 13-6 run by the 36ers, ignited by three-point baskets by Copeland and Farley, had the Dome crowd standing in delight, with their team leading by seven and the prospect of securing a much-needed victory.
However, Powell subscribed to an indifferent script, with his colossal final period helping the Breakers rush home, scoring 13 of the last 16 points to turnaround a one-point deficit with 4:03 remaining into a nine-point advantage by the final whistle.
The Breakers travel north for their next assignment against the Cairns Taipans at the Cairns Convention Centre on Saturday evening, while Adelaide return home for a crucial clash against the Townsville Crocs on Friday night.
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