Basketball: Breakers vow to learn from their mistakes

By Michael Brown

Tom Abercrombie, CJ Bruton and Dillon Boucher of the Breakers look on during the round one NBL match between the New Zealand Breakers and the Perth Wildcats. Photo / Getty Images.
Tom Abercrombie, CJ Bruton and Dillon Boucher of the Breakers look on during the round one NBL match between the New Zealand Breakers and the Perth Wildcats. Photo / Getty Images.

Sometime this week, the Breakers will sit down and watch the replay of their dreadful 93-72 defeat to Perth on Friday night.

It will be distasteful, disturbing and displeasing but it was also be invaluable. It will serve as a salient reminder of what they can't afford to do if they are to claim an historic three-peat this season.

"At this stage of the year, it's [a tape] you need to go through," coach Andrej Lemanis said. "There was stuff that was unacceptable and we need to get better, learn and move on. It's not just one you wash down the drain.

"You are always embarrassed when you play like that regardless of [the importance of the night]. Every game is important."

Friday night was particularly significant. Not only did the club unveil their second-straight banner but it was also against their arch-enemies who are still hurting from their defeat in last season's grand final series.

The game was also played out in front of a sold-out North Shore Events Centre and there would have been plenty more who tuned in on TV to see how the Breakers were shaping up in their pursuit of a third title. It made for ugly viewing.

The good news is they (surely) can't play any worse. The Breakers are still a good team, with plenty of threats across their squad, and effort and energy can be fixed relatively easily.

They were considerably better in the second half as they brought more intensity but they still lost it by one point and Perth were playing a smart game to ensure the Breakers wouldn't find a way back into the match.

"I personally think there's nothing to worry about," said veteran forward Dillon Boucher, who brought the team into a huddle at the conclusion of the match to let them know how he felt. "I wouldn't ring the alarm bells just yet. We have 27 games to go.

"We are confident we are a good ball club. We didn't play well but it doesn't mean we can't go out next Friday night [against Adelaide] and play a hell of a lot better. We have a confidence and belief in the group that we can put this behind us and learn from it. It proves that if we don't play hard, we will lose every night."

There will be some concern over the lack of productivity from their big men. Centre Alex Pledger, easily the biggest man on the court, failed to pull down a rebound and new boy Will Hudson, who was decent in some areas, also failed to claim a defensive rebound.

The bench was also unproductive, with only 20 points between them, and it was during a period when most of the starting five were getting a rest that Perth put runs of 20-2 and 18-0 together.

All of that, of course, will be picked over when the Breakers review their tape.

- APNZ

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