Melbourne United 81
NZ Breakers 88
The beauty of a make or miss basketball league is that you don't actually have to shoot the ball well to win a game; you just need to be better than the opposition.
The Breakers made the most of that in their 88-81 win over defending ANBL champions Melbourne United on Sunday.
The Breakers shot at a 41 per cent clip and again struggled from the free throw line, but with Melbourne shooting at just 38 per cent on the night, the Breakers weren't made to pay.
To be fair, the Breakers put on an improved performance from their dismal outing in Auckland against Brisbane on Friday night. However, they were again reliant on individual performances to carry the load.
New addition Tai Wesley stepped up in a big way against his former team, leading the Breakers charge with 25 points – 21 of which came in the first half. Captain and fellow forward Thomas Abercrombie played as a productive secondary option with 16 points on the night which saw him surpass Kirk Penney as the franchise's all-time leading scorer.
After leading the team in scoring in their opener, guard Corey Webster couldn't find his range. He drained just three of 12 shot attempts and continued to turn the ball over at a high rate. However what Webster lacked on the offence, import guard Patrick Richard compensated for. In 26 minutes off the bench, the 28-year-old posted 15 points from just eight shots.
While the shots were, for most of the night, failing to find the inside of the hoop, the Breakers were giving themselves plenty of chances on the offensive glass. A weakness of their performance against Brisbane, the Kiwi side turned things around rapidly at claimed 23 of their 48 rebounds on the offensive end.
After the way things started, it looked like Breakers fans would be in for another long night. On the opening possession, the Kiwi side missed five shots close to the basket in a row before Melbourne secured a rebound and drained a three at the other end.
It took Melbourne less than a minute to hit their first three of the night. It took the Breakers almost all of three quarters before their first long ball dropped.
Despite struggling from deep, Wesley's impact in the post was being put to good use as the Breakers went to the Guam international time and time again with great success. His production kept the Breakers in the match early, and carried them to a half-time lead.
Following the standard set by Wesley, the Kiwi side went on with the job in the second half and were able to close out the win.
NZ Breakers 88 (Tai Wesley 25 points, Thomas Abercrombie 16, Patrick Richard 15)
Melbourne United 81 (Chris Goulding 22 points, David Barlow 15, Mitch McCarron 14)
1Q: 19-28. HT: 47-42. 3Q: 71-66.