Basketball: Breakers out to fix problems before big clash

Mika Vukona and Tai Wesley of the Breakers look on during their second defeat in a row. Photo / photosport.co.nz
Mika Vukona and Tai Wesley of the Breakers look on during their second defeat in a row. Photo / photosport.co.nz

Fingers have been pointed, hands raised, but no names.

A poor patch of form has led to some of the New Zealand Breakers admitting - behind closed doors - that they are not trying hard enough.

The startling admission comes after three losses in the last four games as the defending champions prepare to face their bogey team the Illawarra Hawks in Wollongong on Thursday and again in Auckland on Sunday.

Not even captain Mika Vukona's 350th NBL match could inspire the Breakers as they went down at home to the Adelaide 36ers in Auckland last week.

Vukona confirmed that an honesty session had brought forward admissions from some players that they weren't giving their all.

"Everybody has had their time to voice their opinion," Vukona said. "I think everyone was disappointed in those meetings that we had to hear that.

"Guys are putting a lot of effort in but not in the right area and right now we're trying to channel everything in the right directions... have everyone in unity.

"We hate losing, especially on our home floor. The guys are pretty pissed off, really."

Coach Dean Vickerman said there had been a "good, honest review" the day after losing to Adelaide and there were adjustments at the two practices this week."

The Breakers will need to be better against Illawarra, whose overall shooting ability was their strength, and will be weary of former Kirk Penney who seems to save his best for his former club and who scored 36 and 27 points against them this season.

"We try to give every game equal importance [but] they are the hottest team in the league right now and it's an absolute test of where we are comparative to the top team in the league," Vickerman said.

"They have given us two 20-point beatings and their strength is having so many people who can shoot the ball at a high level. They've averaged over 100 points in recent games and against us. We need to keep them around the 85 [points] mark."

- NZ Herald

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