Basketball: Breakers drop second straight

By Kris Shannon

Taipans 91 Breakers 80
Corey Webster was among those guilty of committing turnovers in the Breakers' defeat. Photo / Getty
Corey Webster was among those guilty of committing turnovers in the Breakers' defeat. Photo / Getty

In a competition as tight as this year's Australian NBL, the Breakers simply can't afford to be so loose in possession.

For the second straight game turnovers doomed Paul Henare's side to defeat last night, their fightback falling short in a 91-80 loss to the Taipans.

A week after coughing up possession 22 times in a hiding against the Hawks, the Breakers were equally careless in Cairns, ceding 20 turnovers and allowing their opposition to profit from those miscues to the tune of 20 points.

Pivotally, it was the Breakers' most important who were also the most sloppy, with Kirk Penney and Corey Webster combining to err on 10 occasions and preclude the visitors' offence from ever finding top form.

The setback dropped the Breakers to 6-6 this season - the same number of defeats as the last-placed Adelaide and only one more than top-ranked Sydney. It also continued an impressive recent trend of parity in the ANBL - Cairns' win was the fifth straight game in which the lower-ranked team heading into the contest eventually emerged on top.

Which has been a boon to the health of the competition, if less so to that of the Breakers' coach. Given Henare has played and coached in Breakers teams built on defence and rebounding, the first half effort against the Taipans would have been especially galling.

Coming into the clash with the second-worst defence in the league, the Breakers appeared intent on giving the home side a helping hand in the first two quarters.

They were out-rebounded 20-12 in the half and ceded six offensive boards, allowing too many second-chance points and allowing Cairns to lead by as many as 17. In fairness, the Taipans needed little assistance given the way they were seeing the hoop, as import guard Travis Trice led a superb shooting performance to put his side ahead by 15 at the major break.

The Breakers, best in the league from beyond the arc, were receiving some of their own medicine from long-range and, in the second half, natural regression from their opponents provided an opportunity to mount a revival.

That was an opportunity the Breakers initially looked to seize, appearing a different team on the boards and finally finding the requisite energy to set up their offence. They were within eight heading into the fourth as a greater defensive presence consistently disrupted their opponents, and the deficit stood at two with five minutes remaining.

But that was as close as the Breakers came, as Trice capped off a game-winning 31-point performance with a timely four-point play.

Taipans 91 (T. Trice 31, N. Jawai 17, C. Gliddon 12)
Breakers 80 (K. Penney 18, A. Mitchell 16, M. Vukona 11)
Halftime: 53-38

- NZ Herald

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