There will be a few more scary nights for opposition sides if the Breakers' offence can continue performing like tonight.
The Breakers (4-2) bounced back from a trio of underwhelming efforts to tame the Townsville Crocs (2-3) and provide a treat for the home fans on Halloween night at Vector Arena.
Two defeats and a scrappy win saw the Breakers frightening no one but tonight's effort showed just how dangerous the once-fearsome club can still be.
The Breakers put four players into double figures, shot the three-ball well all game and enjoyed an outing from Cedric Jackson that resembled his best work.
The improvement on offence was allied to a defensive performance that emphasised, compared to the last campaign, what a strength it has been this season. The Breakers muscled up to overturn a halftime deficit in the rebound count and eventually triumph 40-31 in that battle, while a Mika Vukona-led rearguard restricted league-leading scorer Brian Conklin to three points on 1-13 shooting.
"They gave us a lesson in what it means to be a playoff basketball team, with their physicality and desperation," said Crocs coach Shawn Dennis.
That defensive effort alone meant it would be reductive to view Jackson's form as the sole difference between the flat Breakers of previous fixtures and tonight's vibrant team, but there's no doubting the point guard enjoys an enormous influence when feeling at the top of his game.
Troubles by an elbow injury in recent weeks, Jackson showed no such concerns against the Crocs, leading all scorers with 17 while chipping in six assists and five rebounds.
He was far from the only contributor. Fellow import Ekene Ibekwe risked his own safety and that of the nearby spectators as he covered every inch of the court to record 13 points and five boards, while Corey Webster added 15.
But Jackson grabbed the headlines as the Breakers solidified their spot inside the ANBL top three. The American refused to allow his ailing elbow to limit his impact on the game, earning early authority by taking the ball to the rim and developing his confidence with a couple of first-half three-pointers.
"He was as hurt tonight as he has been all season, so maybe that gave him a greater focus," said Breakers coach Dean Vickerman. "He was disappointed that we didn't protect home court the other week and that was also a massive focus for him."
Jackson's drive helped the Breakers take an eight-point advantage after the first quarter but the Crocs quickly ate into the deficit with a 14-0 run that stretched into the second. Townsville suddenly held their first lead since the opening minutes but the slide was arrested by Jackson's triples.
The Breakers then took total control in a third period punctuated by Ibekwe hurdling the advertising hoardings, a court-side hospitality table and a female fan in pursuit of a loose ball. The big Nigerian hit the floor hard but his next involvement was to swat away an opposition shot.
Back-to-back threes from Rhys Carter lifted his side's lead to a game-high 16 points late in the third and allowed the Breakers to close out a game they rarely looked like losing.
Breakers 84 (Jackson 17, Webster 15, Ibekwe 13)
Crocs 70 (Steindl 13, Gladness 13, Henry 10)