Basketball: Breakers out to break New Year's curse

By Michael Brown

Cedric Jackson of the Breakers shoots during the round 11 NBL match between the New Zealand Breakers and the Cairns Taipans at Vector Arena. Photo / Getty Images
Cedric Jackson of the Breakers shoots during the round 11 NBL match between the New Zealand Breakers and the Cairns Taipans at Vector Arena. Photo / Getty Images

For a club that have been around for a decade and who have won the past two ANBL titles, the Breakers hold a dubious record that stands out like the lanky Alex Pledger in a crowded shopping mall.

The Breakers have never won on New Year's Eve in their history. It hasn't helped that they don't traditionally play the fixture at home - and they also haven't played on that date every year - but for a team that is almost as successful on the road as they are in Auckland, it is an anomaly.

It's not like they are still in holiday mode because they were back training on Boxing Day and Monday night's match against Cairns will be the second of a tricky road trip that opens with the 36ers in Adelaide on Friday night.

"I don't know why [we haven't won before],'' Breakers forward Tom Abercrombie said. "We always play away from home at this time of year and there are always plenty of distractions. Hopefully we have learned from the last 10 years and we can do something a little differently this year.

"We usually play in smaller places on New Year's Eve - Cairns and Townsville, places like that. I guess it's a bit of a party atmosphere for the crowds and they seem to enjoy it but hopefully we can go out and be party poopers.''

They have done that by winning the last two ANBL titles, and they are on course for a third as the top of the ladder halfway through the regular season.

They hold a one-game advantage over Perth in second after nine wins from their 12 games and have the chance to consolidate their position as they enter a busy period of four games in two weeks.

"It's a difficult period but for us it's a good challenge,'' Abercrombie said. ``We have to try to make the most of this period. It's a very important time for us - a bit of a make-or-break period for the season. We want to get everything we can out of this.

"It's a very tough trip, from Adelaide to Cairns, and we are away for a little bit. It's probably our longest trip of the year but any time you are away that long you try to make it worth your while. You have a lot more fun when get a couple of wins.''

Adelaide made a good start to their season, winning five of their first eight including an impressive 69-65 defeat of the Wildcats in Perth, but have lost their last four and will also be without impressive import Mitch Creek who ruptured his Achilles recently and is out for the season.

This came on the back of their axing of the club's second import CJ Massingale who "wasn't physically capable'' of performing in the league, according to Sixers coach Marty Clarke.

The Breakers don't really know what team they will come up against but they will be at full strength, with import Will Hudson having recovered fully from concussion, and they are also getting a little twitchy after not playing for two weeks.

Abercrombie and Cedric Jackson were involved in last weekend's All Stars game played in Adelaide - Breakers coach Andrej Lemanis was also coach of the winning Souths team - but it was little more than a dunk-fest as the league's best players tried to outdo each other and ignored one of the tenets of the game, defence.

The Breakers have beaten Adelaide in their past 12 games dating back to 2009. Win tomorrow night and they can then get onto the business of sorting out and unwanted anomaly.

- APNZ

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