Breakers 95 36ers 113

Sport can be full of surprises but sometimes a game will unfold exactly how recent history suggested it would.

Which is what transpired yesterday at the North Shore Events Centre, where Adelaide proved too strong for the Breakers and both teams continued along divergent but predictable paths.

For the league-leading 36ers, cracking a century and grabbing a victory was nothing new. Adelaide (13-7) have now scored 100 points five times in their last 11 games, collecting 10 wins to storm well clear in the Australian NBL standings.

And for the Breakers (8-12), the pain of defeat is becoming an unfortunately familiar feeling. The loss was the club's eighth in their last 10 outings as they dropped further adrift at the bottom of the table and regressed defensively after showing signs of improvement.


In fairness, the opposition could take a fair bit of credit for forcing that regression. Adelaide illustrated why they lead the league in scoring and how they became virtually unstoppable, providing a multitude of offensive threats that would have proven too tough for any team to contain.

The 36ers had six players in double digits and another with nine, getting to the free throw line with ease and shooting the ball well throughout, particularly in a blistering first half that decided the game.

"You can't allow them to get confidence," coach Paul Henare said of the league leaders. "And we allowed that with several breakdowns at the defensive end that led to easy shots for them. They're one of the toughest teams once they get their tails up - once they get a little bit of a roll on, it's like a freight train. And we helped them get to that place."

That roll began almost from the opening tip, as Adelaide made clear their intentions in a first quarter they completely controlled. Equally destructive when cutting to the basket as they were on the outside, the visitors' offence blew away the Breakers and built an 11-point lead to take into the second.

Before long that lead had doubled and, by the time the first-half carnage was complete, Adelaide had poured in 62 points and threatened to deal the home side an embarrassing defeat.

The Breakers, at least, avoided that outcome and steadly fought their way back into the game, finding their accuracy from beyond the arc and finally limiting their turnovers. After an ugly outing in Friday night's loss in Cairns, their offence was again clicking in the second half, starting with new import Kevin Dillard.

The point guard was injected into the starting five and was immediately impressive off the dribble, unlocking the Adelaide defence and finding his own shot in the second half. Dillard led the Breakers with 18 points while shooting four-of-eight from deep but, given they began the week as strangers, understandably experienced mixed results when involving his teammates.

"He's a highly-skilled player and I think he'll help us offensively," Henare said. "We got some good things going and were able to knock down shots. It was good to see our offence start to flow."

But disappointment remained the overwhelming feeling, especially when considering a rebounding count that Adelaide were allowed to edge 45-29, with the Breakers playing generous hosts to give up 20 offensive boards.

Those rebounding and defensive failures left the Henare's side probably needing to win six of their last eight games to have any hope of making the playoffs - a resurgence that must begin at home to Sydney on Friday night - but the coach believed his players were still up for the battle.

"Each and every one of the guys, I look in their eyes and know they're still in it. They're still fighting. This was a very good team and a very confident team but that confidence takes a hit when you come out and play like that in the first half.

"For whatever reason, it happened. We just have to make sure it doesn't happen again."

Breakers 95 (K. Dillard 18, K. Penney 17, P. Carter 12)
36ers 113 (J. Randle 23, D. Johnson 19, M. Creek 16)
Halftime: 62-40