Steve Deane: Jackson rips the Wildcats to shreds

Dillon Boucher. Photo / Getty Images
Dillon Boucher. Photo / Getty Images

The Wildcats made quite a fuss over the issue of respect in the build-up to last night's classic game-one encounter. So unimpressed were they with the Breakers' habit of "over-celebrating" their successes that video of the New Zealand team indulging themselves featured at practice sessions.

The Wildcats might have done better to study tape of Cedric Jackson instead. Where other teams have been quick to identify the threat posed by the classy American point guard and do all they can to lock him down, Perth don't seem to pay Jackson the same sort of respect. He pays them back by ripping them to shreds.

Last night was the third successive encounter between these sides where Jackson has dominated the Wildcats. If the penny doesn't drop this time, the series could be all over in Perth next Friday.

The Wildcats might hate the Breakers' swagger but the Breakers back their posturing with deeds. Even without their everything man, Tom Abercrombie, they were able to pull off one of the great triumphs last night.

They're good and the know it. Reminiscent of the great Auckland rugby team of the late 80s and early 90s, it's an attitude several other sports teams around these parts would love to be able to adopt.

It might not make them many friends beyond these shores but, hey, who cares? Look at the trophy cabinet.

That, of course, might be a touch premature. Basketball finals are played as series for a reason. Perth are a fantastic side, the searing run they put together to erase a 15-point half-time deficit in just four minutes proved that. They are well capable of defending their home court next Friday to force a conclusion back at Vector Arena the following Tuesday night.

Speaking of Vector, what a fitting venue for this fantastic sports team. With a ticketing glitch and Bad Friday marketing complications behind them, the Breakers finally filled the place. What a difference an extra thousand or so make.

Jackson's was far from a lone hand. The 9125 spectators all played their part, while plenty more Breakers deserve a hearty butt slap for their efforts last night. Asked to make his first start in place of the injured Abercrombie, Leon Henry stood tall. The evergreen Dillon Boucher stopped two dangerous Wildcats runs dead in their tracks, Daryl Corletto was at his deadly best, while CJ Bruton and Mika Vukona were the heroes who got the team home in overtime.

That they went down in a classic will be little consolation to a Wildcats side brilliantly led by the silky American guard Kevin Lisch.

The Breakers celebrated their victory in their typical style last night. They had every right to.

- NZ Herald

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