Illawarra Hawks 109 New Zealand Breakers 78

The New Zealand Breakers have followed an excellent performance with their worst showing in years.

Just two days after dropping 100 points in a comprehensive win over the Illawarra Hawks, the Hawks returned the favour with interest in a 109-78 trouncing.

The loss was the Breakers biggest defeat to Illawarra since 2004, and their worst effort since 2010, when they lost by 40 to the Perth Wildcats.

It was a sloppy display on both ends by the Breakers, who struggled to stay in front of a re-energised Hawks lineup. Coach Rob Beveridge had rung the changes after their limp performance in New Zealand, and was rewarded as his promoted and demoted players all stepped up.


Dropped to the bench, import guard Rotnei Clarke responded with a game high 22 points, getting plenty of action after fellow import Marvelle Harris hobbled off injured four minutes into the game.

He received support off the pine from Nick Kay, who dropped 17 points in 17 minutes, and 15 points from Rhys Martin.

The well-rounded Hawks scored 26 points or more in every quarter as their ball movement and interior finishing showed significant improvements, combined with some sloppy defensive principles from the Breakers.

On offence, the Breakers sustained their league-leading turnover rate, coughing up 22 turnovers in a trend which is concerning coach Paul Henare. To compound their woes, the Breakers' shots weren't dropping, shooting just 5-20 from deep, while Kirk Penney and Corey Webster combined for just 14 points on 5-23 shooting.

It wouldn't have made a game-alerting difference if their shots did fall however, such was the improved performance by the Hawks, who amped up their defensive pressure.

Acclimatising import David Stockton had a mixed game off the bench. Arguably under-utilised off the ball for the majority of the first half, Stockton's mix of electric speed and precision passing bodes well for the games ahead.

He accrued 10 points and seven assists, but also committed four turnovers - most of which came when the 5 foot 11 point guard was met by tall timber at the rim. His lack of height may also have contrasting results at the defensive end, with Stockton able to swipe away steals for potential fast-break points, but lacking the length and size to contest and alter shots against driving opponents.

Alex Pledger posted a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds, Akil Mitchell had 12 points and five rebounds and Tom Abercrombie contributed 11 points and six boards. Finn Delany was given a career-high 15 minutes and provided six points and four rebounds.

The loss drops the Breakers back to 6-5, a record good enough for fourth on the ANBL ladder. Their opportunity to bounce back comes when they visit Cairns next Sunday.

Hawks 109 (Clarke 22, Kay 17, Martin 15)
Breakers 78 (Pledger 16, Mitchell 12, Abercrombie 11)
HT:​ 56-44