NBL 2014/15 Round 15: Cedric Jackson leads Breakers over United
An unstoppable Cedric Jackson put on a show in the New Zealand Breakers 88-75 win over Melbourne United.
Jackson finished with his second career triple-double in the NBL with 16 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists.
Melbourne was able to stay close to New Zealand for most of the game, until the final minutes when the Breakers took control. New Zealand finished with nine steals, easily picking off many of the visitors passes resulting in 13 points from turnovers.
In the first game played in New Zealand during the day since 2006, the Breakers fans were out in force.
The game started off with some poor shooting from both teams, with the trend continuing for United shooting under 40 per cent for the game.
A change in the New Zealand starting lineup saw Corey Webster replaced by Rhys Carter. This didn't affect the output we saw from Webster who had 17 points in 26 minutes.
Thomas Abercrombie lit up the first half with 10 points and a huge triple at the half time buzzer.
United came out strong after being down by two at the main break but could not find a big enough lead to stay ahead of the experienced Breakers outfit.
The Breakers did an incredible job of containing the leagues leading scorer Jordan McRae who finished with just two points on 1-14FG shooting. McRae tried everything to get out of the slump but could not find the bottom of the net.
Some resistance was shown by import point guard Stephen Dennis who led all scorers with 18.
As usual New Zealand's other import, Ekene Ibekwe came off the bench with huge success. He finished with a near double double, having 15 points and nine rebounds. The sixth man of the year favourite also had three blocks on the game but also had many United players looking around as they entered the paint.
Melbourne went into the game knowing they needed to improve their rebounding to have any chance at winning and ultimately playing finals basketball. They did this with great success after a season of disappointing rebounding counts. United ended up winning the rebound count 43-33.
Also finishing with a more offensive rebounds then their opposition, winning that stat 12-7.
Daniel Kickert led the way in this category with five of his nine rebounds coming at the offensive end.
However, the defence and transition of the ladder leaders was too good for the United brand. The game belonged to Cedric Jackson, who along with his triple double was able to pick up three steals causing headaches for the United guards.
New Zealand are the team to beat in the competition at the moment and are heading into the final rounds of the season as the favourites to take home the trophy.
Melbourne will now have to fight for their fourth position on the ladder as Adelaide are ready to pounce on any slip up from United.
New Zealand Breakers 88 (Webster 17, Jackson 16, Ibekwe 15)
Melbourne United 75 (Dennis 18, Kickert 15, Barlow 9)