NBL 2014/15 Round 2 Preview: Breakers look to tame 36ers in home opener
Photo Credit: New Zealand Breakers
New Zealand Breakers vs Adelaide 36ers
Friday, 17th October - 6:30pm (local time)
Tickets: Click here
Odds: New Zealand $1.30, Adelaide $3.55
The Breakers opened their season last weekend with a convincing victory over defending champion Perth Wildcats, showing early chemistry and a killer-instinct that was missing last season. One of the NBL's most beloved players, Cedric Jackson, made his anticipated return and did not disappoint, dropping 22 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists in a vintage performance.
Adelaide split their opening two games, losing at home to Cairns and beating the lackluster Townsville Crocodiles on the road. Led by top scorer Jamar Wilson and young-gun Mitch Creek, the 36ers will be confident they can steal another victory away from home and ruin the Breakers celebrations (Honoring the contributions of C.J Bruton).
Webster was one of the standout performers in the recent World Championships in Spain and there have been high expectations for him to become a leader of this Breakers team. In round one he suffered an early back injury that rendered him irrelevant - 11 minutes, 4 points, 1 steal. Luckily for the Breakers, Rhys Carter stepped up with Jackson and carried the team, however this formula will not translate to consistent wins.
Webster has become a deadly outside shooter and can create his own shot off the dribble. Whilst he does not ooze vertical athleticism, his quickness allows him to easily get to the basket. For the Breakers to claim a victory, Webster's output must match his recent stat line in Spain - 13.7 points, 2 rebounds.
If Webster can overcome his back troubles from round one and manages to get hot early, this could be a blow out.
What to Watch For
Adelaide's Half-court vs Breakers Fast Break
Adelaide will be looking to slow down the Breakers' quick guard combo of Jackson, Webster and Carter and play their slower half-court pace. If they can take away the Breakers transition game, it will force them to work it inside to the unproven Ibekwe, plodding Tai Wesley and the injured Alex Pledger.
The Breakers will be looking to run and set up their shooters for quick, open shots a-la Phoenix Suns. For this style to work they will need to get stops; which is easier said than done, particularly as Adelaide has a plethora of shooters (Creek, Wilson, Anthony Petrie) and sixth-man Daequon Montreal is a dangerous player who lit-up Townsville. Forcing contested shots and running the fast-break will be paramount.
With team-leader and arguably second best player Tom Abercrombie due back this week, the Breakers should be too strong at home and will be determined to celebrate the great C.J Bruton in style.
Adelaide wont be travelling to Auckland for the inclement weather; they will have confidence after beating Townsville away from home and likewise will be determined to rain on the Breakers' parade.
This contest should prove close throughout, but the home side should pull away late for a strong win.
New Zealand by 10