NBL 2014/15 Round 13: Breakers, Wesley wreck Gibbo's 300th in ugly clash
Adam Gibson's 300th game did not pan out the way he wanted, as the Adelaide 36ers were undone by the Breakers prolific duo of Cedric Jackson (16 points 6 rebounds, 5 assists) and Tai Wesley (18 points), losing 81-74. Gibson (7 points, 6 turnovers) who was thoroughly out-played by Jackson and Brock Motum, who poured 19 points, were not enough for the home side who are now going to find it difficult to make the post season.
Jackson, who had 15 points in the first half, was shutdown in the second, but again the Breakers bench came through when they were needed. The emergence of Tai Wesley in the last two rounds has been a revelation for the New Zealanders, who now boast a rotation nine deep. The 36ers were led by guard Jamar Wilson who was returning from a two game absence. He scored 21 points off the bench and at times was their only legitimate option on offense.
The 36ers struggled to get enough production from their starters as Brendan Teys, Anthony Petrie and Mitch Creek combined for 6 just points. With so much riding on the game, it was disappointing to see their lack of execution.
Adelaide came out with their usual full-court press, putting pressure on the turnover prone kiwis, however it was the enthusiasm of Cedric Jackson who kept the visitors on the front foot with ten straight points. Jackson put forward Mitch Creek on skates, as the big-man simply couldn't keep up with him and the Breakers surged out with a 12-0 run. Brock Motum kept the 36ers within striking distance, proving unguardable in the paint scoring 9 points.
Up 26-20 the Breakers came into the second term riding their bench, forcing coach Dean Vickerman into some quick changes as Adelaide began to take hold of the momentum. BJ Anthony snared five offensive boards and scored 11 in the first four minutes as he fed off Motum's big first quarter. However, with Adelaide closing within one point, Jackson again put the Breakers on his back; snaring two steals, an and-1 himself and pushing the lead out to 9. Six quick points by the returning Jamar Wilson shaved the margin to three as Adelaide fought back to make it 47-44 at the half.
Jamar Wilson started the second half over Mitch Creek, who struggled to both score points and stay in front of a red-hot Jackson. Mr 300, Adam Gibson, who had a paltry 2 points in the first half, scored 5 quick points to give the 36ers their first lead since the opening minutes as both sides continued to trade baskets. An ugly offensive quarter came to an end with a 5-0 Breaker run as they edged out to a 63-58 lead and looked more likely to break the game open.
A big three-pointer by bench player Ruben Te Rangi put the Breakers up 8, as he and Ekene Ibekwe's offensive rebounds (three in the quarter) attempted to put the game beyond doubt. With turnovers killing the 36ers, the Breakers pulled away to a 12 point lead on an array of transition lay-ups and fouls. Tai Welsey, who was the NBL's player of the week in round 12, punished Adelaide down low scoring his 18 points on 8/11 shooting. Some clutch finishing from Motum and Wilson desperately kept the home side in the contest, but a double digit deficit was always going to be hard to climb back in the fourth quarter as they finally lost by 7.
The result has Adelaide fall to 7-11 and are now in a must-win game with Melbourne next week if they are to make the playoffs. The Breakers, who are making a habit of winning ugly games, remain on top of the ladder at 14-5 and look to get one hand on the minor premiership with a home game against Wollongong on Thursday.
New Zealand Breakers 81 (Wesley 18, Jackson 16, Webster 12)
Adelaide 36ers 74 (Wilson 21, Motum 19, Anthony 11)