Sporting Achievement of the Year 2013: Breakers

By Kris Shannon

New Zealand Breakers forward Mika Vukona. Photo / Getty Images
New Zealand Breakers forward Mika Vukona. Photo / Getty Images

Twenty-four victories and four defeats during the regular season. A 16-game winning streak. Two straight playoff sweeps.

Whatever the numbers during the Breakers' third consecutive champions campaign, they add up to one result - the Kiwi club enjoyed one of the most dominant seasons in New Zealand sporting history.

Only one club in Australian NBL history had achieved a hat-trick of titles before the Breakers, but the Sydney Kings were nowhere near as supreme when they captured their third trophy.

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These Breakers were a sure thing.

Close games, blowouts, home, away - it mattered little to Andrej Lemanis and his charges as they swept aside all and sundry.

For all the authority they exhibited throughout the campaign, though, the Breakers' season began in inauspicious fashion with a 21-point home defeat to Perth. But they never lost another home game and, aside from Perth, only the Sydney Kings emerged with a win against the champs in any venue.

The Breakers would gain revenge over Sydney with a simple sweep in the semifinals, pitting them in the finals, inevitably, against another target for vengeance: the Wildcats.

An opening victory was easily secured.

Game two, however, was a different proposition, played in front of 14,000 rabid fans in a town from which the Breakers had escaped unscathed on just three of 17 occasions in franchise history.

But, like every hurdle they faced over three years, the Breakers rose to the challenge, surviving a fierce fightback from the hosts to seal a four-point victory and their first grand final sweep.

This title was about a team, a juggernaut the likes of which is rarely seen.

- NZ Herald

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