When the going gets tough, the SKYCITY Breakers dont duck for cover, and they wont be ducking tonight (Friday) when they host Sydney Kings at Vector Arena in the Australian National Basketball League.
In what amounts to a must win game for Paul Henares side, the Breakers know that a win is vital to end a three-game losing run, but more importantly to throw them back in the post-season conversation with eight games of the regular season left to play.
Henare has spoken about the belief within his injury affected roster, and the role that the fans can continue to play, agreeing during the week that their backs were against the wall, but retaining his faith in the teams ability to get the wins necessary.
"Until someone tells me that mathematically we have no chance of making the play-offs, of course I am going to believe that we can do it. This group has shown before that we can overcome the odds and do what others are saying cant be done. I look into the eyes of these players and I know that they genuinely have a belief that we can turn this around, it is not a false confidence, it is a genuine belief in what we are doing and in themselves and their team mates, but we have to deliver.
"We havent delivered to the levels that we have wanted to in recent weeks, that is on us.
The full house at the North Shore Events Centre last week was a reminder however of why we do this and the people who come along and support us and what we stand for week in week out, and we need to do better against the Kings to reward that support."
Kirk Penney has played at the highest level in leagues around the world and did not shy away from the challenge that lies ahead.
"Everything is a must-win for sure. It's almost like we're entering an early playoff period because that's how it is in playoffs, you can't give away games. Right now we really need to find a way and this is the perfect time. We're going to Vector Arena and it's a place we've been really successful this year.
"It's about bringing the team together and trying to put a really good performance together. The timing of being at home is great."
Penney also spoke of the time spent this week with new point guard Kevin Dillard and swingman Paul Carter, time that has been vital to bring both Americans up to speed with the Breakers playbook and style of game.
"It's been nice to just have a few days together and just be on court. Kevin and Paul have been with us for such a short amount of time but they're both really good players. It's been fun to see them get comfortable.
"The biggest thing has been to integrate them into our system ... it's just that understanding of who we're trying to go to and what we're trying to do defensively."
The Breakers have history in making a strong run at the end of the season, last year wining five straight to surge into the playoffs where they would defeat top seeds Melbourne before losing to Perth in three in the Grand Final.
Penney wound the clock back even further to the 2009/10 campaign when they again won their final six games, only to come up one win short of a place in the post-season, an experience that helped them win their first Championship the season after.
"We just kept getting all this changeover and it was really difficult. This reminds me a little bit of that but that year we won our last six games. We found a really good rhythm and went for it and ending up missing the playoffs by about half a game
"Right now it is still in our control. If we can get a run going we'll very much have a chance to make the playoffs, and make some noise."
And noise is what the team is hoping they get from the loyal fans who might also remember those end of season sequences and help cheer them on a similar run over the coming weeks, starting tonight (Friday) at Vector Arena.
Meanwhile Tom Abercrombie has confirmed that he is another week away from a return. The swingman is recovering from a broken hand and wont suit up tonight, but is hoping to return to the practice floor next week.
Next Home Game - NBL Heritage Round
SKYCITY Breakers v Sydney Kings
Friday 13 January
7:30pm tip off
6:00pm doors open
Tickets from www.nzbreakers.co.nz
Limited supplies of the SKYCITY Breakers Heritage Singlet available for sale at the stadium
- This story has been automatically published using a media release from Basketball New Zealand