Basketball: Action Jackson leads the way

By Kris Shannon

Cedric Jackson's 14 points were complemented by 12 assists, five rebounds and two steals. Photo / Getty Images.
Cedric Jackson's 14 points were complemented by 12 assists, five rebounds and two steals. Photo / Getty Images.

The Breakers made the tough task of playing on consecutive nights seem simple this weekend, thanks to a dynamic double from one player used to such scheduling.

The defending champions enjoyed a successful Sunshine Swing roadtrip, sweeping the games against Townsville and Cairns to improve their league-leading record to 6-1.

And it was American import Cedric Jackson who led the way with back-to-back double-doubles, as the Breakers became the first team since 2007 to complete the north Queensland double on consecutive nights.

The Breakers last played two games in 24 hours in 2010 but Jackson has had more recent experience playing without rest.

While he played only sparingly in his NBA career, Jackson would have grown accustomed to tight turnarounds during the 84 games he played in the NBA Development League from 2009-2011.

That experience showed this weekend as he virtually sealed a second player of the week award and outlined his MVP credentials with a couple of inspired performances.

In Friday night's nine-point victory against the Crocs, Jackson's 14 points were complemented by 12 assists, five rebounds and two steals. He packed the stat sheet again in Saturday night's 19-point win over the Taipans, with 20 points, 12 assists, three rebounds and two steals.

In putting up such gaudy numbers, Jackson increased his already large league lead in assists (7.9 per game) and steals (2.7) - two categories he dominated last season - but it is his enhanced scoring which really catches attention.

Jackson returned from another tilt at cracking the NBA in the off-season with a slight change in his shooting technique, as he sought to improve probably the weakest area of his game.

He now sits fourth in the ANBL in points per game (16.6) and leads the Breakers' starters in field goal percentage (49 per cent) and shooting from beyond the arc (39 per cent).

Given he is still playing lockdown defence in the point guard position as the Breakers suffocate teams at that end of the floor, Jackson must surely be the front-runner for most valuable player honours.

"He has ability to influence games in different ways," coach Andrej Lemanis told reporters following the Cairns game. "On the defensive end, he can get steals and shut people down, offensively he can get in the lane and he's shooting the ball with great confidence.

"But I've really been impressed with Cedric's ownership of the leadership role this year ... he's really been vocal with the group."

There's no doubting the 26-year-old will attempt to parlay his success down under into another NBA shot next winter but, if he continues his current form, there's a good chance he will head to the states with another championship ring on his hand.

- APNZ

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf02 at 22 Oct 2014 11:42:57 Processing Time: 276ms