Basketball: Breakers try to stay calm

By Kris Shannon

The weekend's double blow wasn't without positives, though, chief among them the play of Kerron Johnson. Photo / Getty Images
The weekend's double blow wasn't without positives, though, chief among them the play of Kerron Johnson. Photo / Getty Images

The last time the Breakers began an Australian NBL campaign with two losses in three games they missed the playoffs.

And it could get worse before it gets better. The Perth Wildcats are coming to Auckland on Thursday, with last year's beaten grand finalists having recorded three impressive victories to start the season.

But even falling to 1-3 wouldn't be cause for too much concern. While the Breakers were swept on the Sunshine Swing in North Queensland at the weekend, their performances in the opening fortnight have provided little reason for alarm.

A comprehensive win over Wollongong was followed by a flat display against Townsville. Those happen on the road, even during the championship-winning campaigns.

Then, on Saturday night, CJ Bruton had a wide-open chance to win it on the buzzer against Cairns, a climax the Breakers would have eagerly accepted had it been offered when trailing by eight in the fourth quarter.

"It just didn't go in," said Tom Abercrombie. "We'd be talking differently if not for that one shot, but a loss is a loss."

The weekend's double blow wasn't without positives, though, chief among them the play of Kerron Johnson. The point guard paced the Breakers both nights, shooting a combined 17-23 from the floor to collect 39 points as he again showed his capability for filling Cedric Jackson's shoes.

Despite the defeat, the play of Johnson and his teammates drew a pass mark from coach Dean Vickerman.

"Losing is always a problem, but we backed up a bad performance with a good performance," he said. "We attacked the rim and got some calls and shot the three-ball well."

But it was the calls that went against the Breakers which might produce the most anxiety within the camp, depending on how they can adjust as the season progresses. Twenty-six fouls were too many to give up.

Perth are on the horizon and the prospect of a three-game losing streak. The last time that happened? January 2010 - the last time they missed the playoffs.

- APNZ

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