Kevin Dillard embraces Breakers' playoff challenge

Breakers guard Kevin Dillard in action for New Zealand Breakers against Sydney Kings. Photo/Photosport
Breakers guard Kevin Dillard in action for New Zealand Breakers against Sydney Kings. Photo/Photosport

After shooting the NZ Breakers to a buzzer-beating win over Brisbane Bullets on Sunday, American Kevin Dillard is happy to carry the club's rekindled Australian NBL playoff hopes.

With time running out, three games into his Breakers career, Dillard broke Brisbane hearts with an off-balance step-back jumper.

Pressure, what pressure?

"I thrive on pressure moments," the point guard told Radio Sport Breakfast. "Whatever I need to get the win, that's what I need to do.

"That's where you just rely on the work you put in during the off-season. You welcome that moment with confidence and show what you've got.

"After the game, I was still running on adrenaline for a while. WE definitely enjoyed the celebration, but on the three-hour flight back home, I probably slipped back into reality.

"That shot was definitely in the top two moments of my basketball career."

Dillard played his college ball at Southern Illinois and Dayton, and has since compiled a professional CV that includes stints in Italy, Latvia, Germany, France, Greece, Belgium and Turkey.

He only arrived at the Breakers two weeks ago, replacing fellow American David Stockton in a last-ditch effort to make the post-season. The injury-riddled four-time champions were sliding down the competition table and in need of a boost.

The arrival of Dillard and Paul Carter as imports seems to have halted the free-fall, with wins over Brisbane and Sydney Kings last weekend giving the club renewed hope of resurrecting their campaign.

Still, they probably need to win five of their final six games to progress, starting with their road outing at Illawarra on Friday.

"We showed a lot of fight in that game, I was very proud of the guys," said Dillard. "We put ourselves in a good position to win and I was able to come up big for us.

"This league is very good. Everyone is competitive, everybody is beating everybody and that makes it fun.

"These last six games will be very competitive and very high energy, which makes it fun for the players, but also for fans to watch."

After their Illawarra trip, the Breakers are back home at Vector Arena to take on archrivals and defending champions Perth Wildcats on Sunday.

- NZ Herald

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