New Zealanders hope to maintain unbeaten record over Sydney

Going by the form guide, the New Zealand Breakers should breeze past the Sydney Kings across the Tasman tonight.

The North Shore club haven't lost to the Kings since they returned to the NBL in the 2010-2011 season and the Breakers have won those contests by an average of 15.4 points.

Throw in the fact that the Shane Heal-coached Kings could be without the league's leading scorer in Ben Madgen, who is struggling with a shoulder complaint, and you could see how the Breakers could be forgiven for thinking it should be an easy outing in Sydney.

But Breakers centre Alex Pledger, who is averaging 6.6 rebounds and an NBL-leading two blocks per game this season, doesn't buy in to the hype.


"I've heard rumours that (Madgen) might not be playing but we're preparing for the game as if he is," Pledger said.

"You don't want to go through the week thinking that he's not there and then, all of a sudden, the game rolls around and he's playing. We've definitely prepared as if he is playing and I think we all expect that he will."

As for the Breakers' perfect recent record over the Kings, Pledger said it wouldn't count for anything come tonight and he recalled their 79-76 victory over Sydney in round five where only a buzzer-beating Mika Vukona three-pointer sealed victory.

"I don't think it means a whole lot. They're quite a different team from last year and the year before, and so are we. We snuck away with the win about a month ago - perhaps a little closer than it should've been. I think we were up 12 with a couple of minutes left and Mika ended up hitting the three to win.

"I don't think not having lost to them for a couple of seasons means a whole lot."

Sydney have impressed this season and occupy fourth on the Australian NBL ladder with seven wins from 12 games and Pledger said it was easy to see why they had exceeded expectations.

"They've been playing very well. They've got the league's leading scorer, they have good big men. Their point guard (Corin Henry), he's not very big but he's extremely quick. And they've got some good guys coming off the bench as well.

"I think, pre-season, most people had them being towards the bottom of the table, but they've surpassed everyone's expectations. Just like most teams in the league, if you don't show up on the night and don't bring your A-game, you're not going to win."

But for all that Sydney have looked like a decent article, the Breakers are the benchmark in the NBL and the two-time defending champions are masters of grinding out another win when they need to.

"We have a lot of veterans and a lot of players that have been around for a while in this team - they know how to close out games and they know how to win," Pledger said.

"Guys like CJ (Bruton), Mika, Dillon (Boucher), guys that have had very long careers and have won championships pretty much everywhere they've been.

"Their experience down the stretch obviously helps."