NBL 2014/15 Round 4: 36ers overcome odds to silence Breakers
The short-handed Adelaide 36ers have defeated the heavily favored New Zealand Breakers 93-86 at Adelaide Arena. Missing key starters Jamar Wilson and Mitch Creek, the 36ers had career nights from both Adam Gibson (34 points, 9 assists, 6 rebounds, 6 steals) and Brendan Teys (23 points, 63% shooting) in a game they controlled from the start and hung-on to win in the dying stages.
The Breakers, who were out-shot 52%-40%, had their chances in the final minute, but were not able to overcome a deficit, that had them playing catch-up for the majority of the second half. Led by Tom Abercrombie's 23 points, the Breakers continued their recent poor form away from home and now drop to 4-3 on the season. They will have to be disappointed with the loss, as they appeared to be playing jungle ball at times, lacking the structure needed to beat Adelaide's zone.
Adelaide moves to 3-2 on the year and have to be impressed with their play, despite being short-handed. With Brock Motum in the stands and rumor-mills circulating that the 36ers could be a possible landing spot for the discarded NBA prospect, things could be looking up for the injured squad.
The game opened with fireworks from both squads, as Teys, Gibson, Corey Webster and Cedric Jackson all cashed-in from long range. With the Breaker shooting an abysmal 29%, the 36ers took an early 9 point lead. The shooting percentages (Adelaide 58%) were to be the key difference in a scrappy game.
The second quarter saw the Breakers continue to rush offensive sets, whilst Teys and Gibson appeared to have all the time in the world. They punctuated the 36ers dominance with a combined 32 points in the half, only 7 off the total score for the Breakers.
With the Breakers game plan changing to take away the shooting of Gibson, the 36ers started getting big-man Luke Schenscher involved. He and B.J Anthony took advantage of the Breakers' slow rotations keeping the margin at double digits. Abercrombie, who had 3 points in the first half, tentatively tried to get the Breakers back in the game, knocking down multiple three-pointers. Outside of Ekene Ibekwe's 6 blocks, he was not getting much help.
The final stanza began with with the Breakers down 9 and a Shaqtin' A Fool moment, where Webster lost his shoe after a made bucket and continued to play defense with it in his hand. The tactic worked as Jackson drilled a three to narrow the gap. With the lead down to 2 points and 30 seconds on the clock, the Breakers forced a turnover and instead of setting up a play, Webster inexplicably launched a deep three - game over.
The player of the day though, was Adam Gibson. He was simply sensational, answering any effort the Breakers made to flip the momentum; key assists, free-throws and a charge. Anybody who questioned his Boomers call-up was definitively silenced.
The Breakers will have a week to reflect before a tough double header against Cairns and Townsville, whilst the 36ers get a juicy match-up against Melbourne United who had a satisfying victory over the Hawks on Sunday.
Adelaide 36ers 93 (Gibson 34, Teys 23, Petrie 13)
New Zealand Breakers 86 (Abercrombie 25, Jackson 20, Webster 13)