Basketball: Vector available for playoffs

By Steve Deane

Breakers basketball player Kirk Penney and general Manager Richard Clarke. Photo /  Photo / Richard Robinson
Breakers basketball player Kirk Penney and general Manager Richard Clarke. Photo / Photo / Richard Robinson

Playoff basketball is coming to Auckland's central city Vector Arena.

Breakers general manager Richard Clarke said Saturday night's earlier than expected capturing of a second successive Australian NBL minor premiership had allowed the club to start planning for the playoffs and indications so far was the Vector Arena would be available for the the semifinals and finals series.

"It's not 100 per cent at this stage but it looks like Vector will be available," Clarke said. "We've just got to sit down with the stadium tomorrow and work through it but it looks like the dates we have will work and will also be fine with the NBL."

The Breakers played three regular season games at Vector this season, with the last of those a 7979 sellout for a victory over Sydney Kings. For finals matches that capacity is likely to be increased to 8200, with seating erected at the previously open end of the court to create a fully enclosed arena.

The club has played previous finals matches at North Shore Events Centre - a venue with a capacity less than half that of Vector. League rules under which clubs pay a premium on every ticket to the ANBL but keep the rest of the income mean the club should be in for a significant financial windfall.

The club's opening finals match against a yet-to-be-determined opponent will likely be on Friday, March 30, with the window for any subsequent semifinal matches closing at the end of Easter. The grand final series window then runs between Easter and Anzac Day.

The Breakers clinched the minor premiership with a comfortable 91-76 victory over Adelaide on Saturday night. Gold Coast's loss to the Crocodiles means no team can now overhaul the 19-6 Breakers.

Beginning with Thursday night's final home match against the Blaze, the Breakers have three regular season games still to play. In the final round, they face a tough doubleheader road trip against the Crocs in Townsville followed by a return match with the Blaze on the Gold Coast.

The battle for the final three playoff spots is down to four teams, with Perth second with a 16-9 record and Cairns just outside the playoff bubble in fifth at 14-11. The Blaze (15-10) are third, with the Crocs (15-11) second but with just two matches to play while their rivals all have three.

- NZ Herald

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