Basketball: Attending to weaknesses key to playoff hopes

By Kris Shannon

Now they nearly find themselves in a position of strength, the Breakers can afford to acknowledge a few weaknesses.

The defending champions' stuttering season has been attributed to a host of reasons - a new coach, different personnel, rule changes - but those within the set-up can suggest a few more.

And with a late run into playoff contention looking more likely after Thursday's crucial 105-87 win over Sydney, the Breakers know that amending those areas is the key that could unlock the door to the finals.

The first point is perhaps the most salient, given their conquering of the Kings was only the second time this season the Breakers have collected consecutive victories.

An 8-11 record hardly hints at many winning streaks and being able to string together some positive results is what separates the contenders from the pretenders. So why have the Breakers followed three-quarters of their successes with immediate setbacks? While difficult to concede, Tom Abercrombie thought it must have been the mindset.

"We've been guilty this year of taking our foot off the gas a little bit after a win and relaxing too much," he said. "It was really pleasing to have a fantastic week and practice and then carry that over into the game. The challenge for us is to do that again."

Coach Dean Vickerman knows what is required in the remaining weeks of the campaign. "I think we have to manage the load at practice really well," he said. "It's something that I've been guilty of at different times - to over-train a little bit.

"I've got to make sure that these guys are peaking for every game, they're not tired and they feel great about going into every game. That's my job right now."

The Breakers' job, in the short term, is to claim the return leg of this potentially decisive double-header in Sydney next Saturday. Bigger picture, they may need to win two thirds of their remaining nine games.

- APNZ

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf05 at 25 Dec 2014 23:51:43 Processing Time: 561ms