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NBL 2014/15 Semi-Final Game 1: Super Breakers trounce hapless Sixers to take early lead
New Zealand has romped to a mammoth 111-82 game one win over Adelaide in their NBL semi-final series on Thursday night.
The visitors had been the hottest team in the league coming into the playoffs, winning ten straight games, but were made to look like wooden spoon contenders as it all fell apart alarmingly quickly.
The home side started on fire, pressing the Sixers up the court to force turnovers and poor shot selection on every possession in the first three minutes.
A Corey Webster pull-up three on the fast break capped an electric 16-2 run for the Breakers as the home fans were sent into early raptures.
An altercation at midcourt between Mitch Creek and Mika Vukona as the teams headed to their benches exemplified the early intensity, and coming out of the timeout it was visitors who responded as Jamar Wilson started to get busy at both ends to help stem the flow.
Daniel Johnson came off the bench to get the Adelaide offense flowing, however Rueben TeRangi netted five quick points at the other end to extend the lead to 21-8 midway through the first term.
The Breaker offense began to stutter late in the first term and the 36ers took full advantage, with Creek getting aggressive at the rim and leading his side back into the contest as they went to the first break down by just six.
Wilson got the Sixers going again early in the second but turnovers and a raft of poor possessions saw their opponents steady and extend their lead back out to 12 with five minutes to play in the half.
Adelaide started to look inside to Johnson and Anthony Petrie for their offense as they tried to cut into the Breakers’ lead; however the home side appeared to have all the answers, tallying 11 assists on 22 made field goals – including six from MVP candidate Cedric Jackson.
Jackson went himself at the half time buzzer, nailing a fade away jumper to give his side a healthy 56-41 lead, and all the momentum, at the main break.
The break did little to cool off Jackson, with the superstar point guard completing a tough three-point play and following it up with another bucket to extend the lead to a game-high 20 points.
As the Sixers cut the lead back to 16 and looked to threaten, it was Jackson again who took the game back away from them, dishing two straight assists – the second on another three-point bomb from Webster to make it a 21-point margin and blow the roof off of Vector Arena.
Adelaide’s frustration began to boil over, with Joey Wright given a warning on the sideline and Wilson and Petrie letting their feelings known on court.
Every Sixers bucket was answered by the Breakers, and it usually involved Jackson, with the lead blowing out to 27 points on yet another Webster bomb from beyond the arc.
Nothing was falling for Adelaide while everything was dropping for New Zealand, and the lead ballooned out to a whopping 33 points by the three-quarter time break.
Frustrations boiled over again with six minutes to play as Johnson and Tai Wesley sparked a ten-player spot fire, before it erupted little more than a minute later when Petrie and Mika Vukona tangled and fell to the floor in a wrestle on the baseline, involving all ten players once again.
The final quarter was little more than a formality, however, as the Breakers ran out 111-82 victors, with Webster (24 points, 9-15 FG), Jackson (13 points, 10 assists) and Vukona (12 points, 10 rebounds) doing most of the damage.
Wilson (21 points, 3-4 3PT) led the way in a dismal night for the 36ers.
New Zealand shot the ball brilliantly through the first three quarters, going at a 53% clip and 50% from beyond the arc, while Adelaide struggled to 36% and 17% respectively before improving when the match was effectively over.
The series will now turn to Adelaide for game two on Saturday night, with game three to be played on Monday in New Zealand if necessary.
New Zealand 111 (Webster 24, Jackson 13, Vukona 12)
Adelaide 82 (Wilson 21, Johnson 14, Creek 12)
@ Vector Arena