Breakers - champs not chokers

By Denise Montgomery

I love the NZ Breakers. They don't choke. I love how they know how to win. I love how their little guy - the 36-year-old and ageless - CJ Bruton makes me scream in frustration at him one second, and cheer with disbelief at his mad three-pointers the next.

I love how they disregarded the Perth Wildcats' history - a side that's reached the ANBL finals 26 times, grand final eight times, and won the silverware five times. History counted for nothing on the night, except to hear the words "back-to-back ANBL champions" and "NZ Breakers" in the same sentence.

Why do I even care about basketball? Isn't it enough to stay up half the night for IPL cricket, to tear my hair out over the Hurricanes (oops sorry, didn't mention that when I took The Aucklander job) and shout like a maniac when the Warriors play?

Well it's the style of basketball that the Breakers play that excites me - downunder we've created a totally different game to the American NBA. It's a game where little guys can be heroes and it takes more than four strides to run the length of the court.

It's bruising, passionate and exciting.

And the Breakers are a unit - who could pick one of them as a star above the rest? Yes, Bruton deserved the MVP honours this time, but almost any of them could have won it, and that's the sign of a great team. Their heartstopping 79-73 victory was ground out with each of them playing a big part part, from Gary Wilkinson's 23 points to Tom Abercrombie's life-saving rejection on Shaun Redhage in the dying seconds. If we thought we would struggle once Paul Henare and Kirk Penney left last year, we didn't count on the size of these guys' hearts.

So here's to the Breakers, to the Vector as a fantastic grand final venue and to a team that knows how to win. Now if they could just go and have a chat with those Blues (but not before they play the Hurricanes).

- The Aucklander

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