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NBL 2014/15 Round 8: New Zealand break away from Kings in dominant win
The New Zealand Breakers have registered their fifth straight win, blowing out a gallant Sydney Kings in the second half. Ultimately New Zealand was able to come away with a 106-97 victory at home.
Facing the toughest road trip in NBL basketball, the Kings started strong, and kept their momentum going into the major break, leading by two. What happened next was hard to predict as New Zealand completely shifted momentum.
Playing without key component Tom Abercrombie, the Breakers were always going to struggle defensively to contain the Kings, in particular Josh Childress. If they weren’t going to be able to stop Childress, they either had to complete shut out the rest of the Kings team or play impeccable offense themselves. They did the latter.
The Breakers not only failed to contain a rampant Josh Childress (24 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists) but they let smooth shooting Ben Madgen get hot to the tune of 22 points on 8-17 shooting, as well as Tom Garlepp who notched a cool 21 points.
However, in the end it didn’t matter, such was the immensity of New Zealand’s offense. They were simply unstoppable, it was beautiful team basketball, an incredible seven Breakers scored in double digits. This truly was the personification of quality ball movement and good team basketball. Even Gregg Popovich and the Spurs would have been proud.
Arguably the two strongest performers were Cedric Jackson and Corey Webster, though it’s hardest to single out any performance amongst the myriad quality ones.
Jackson completely dominated and overwhelmed Kendrick Perry on both ends of the floor, limiting him to only 4 points on 2-5 shooting. Offensively, Jackson was brilliant, nearly compiling a rare triple-double, finishing with 21 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists.
Cory Webster was nearly as impressive, the youngster finished with 16 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists on a tidy shooting performance of 6-13 from the field. Believe me, these two were not alone, with Mika Vukona, Rhys Carter, Ekene Ibekwe, Tai Wesley and Reuben Te Rangi all posting double figures scoring.
The offensive strategy was clearly to bombard the Kings with three pointers, as the Breakers hit double the number of threes that Sydney did, finishing with an incredible 15-29 from deep. Cedric Jackson was a big part of this, knocking down four of his ten attempts. He absolutely had the green light all night long.
Conversely, the Kings (Madgen not included) attempted to beat the Breakers inside, attempting to expose a perceived weakness with their interior defense. The strategy worked quite well, with Childress and Garlepp scoring at will inside, leading to a 46-30 deficit in points in the paint.
However, defensively the Kings simply had no answers for the Breakers multi-faceted scoring attack, nor could they secure a rebound as they were significantly outrebounded and beaten in the battle for second chance points.
Clearly, this appears to be an enduring problem for the Kings as they routinely struggle to contain opposing teams, often offsetting any advantage they have scoring the ball. The loss moves the Kings back under .500 to 4-5 for the season; they need to keep touch with Melbourne for that fourth playoff spot.
New Zealand after a shaky start to the season is rolling, again looking like a serious championship contender, if not outright favourite at this stage. They’ll get a good break before facing the Kings in a rematch next Saturday.
For the Kings, they have a much quicker turnaround, facing the suddenly reeling Adelaide 36ers in a crucial matchup on Monday night.
New Zealand Breakers 107 (Jackson 21, Webster 16, Carter 14)
Sydney Kings 96 (Childress 24, Madgen 22, Garlepp 21)
@ Vector Arena