Breakers 89 Taipans 78
The Breakers are back in the winner's circle.
It wasn't exactly a must win game but it would have been hard to see the Breakers getting their season back on track at the midway point if they had failed to beat the bottom of the table Taipans in Cairns tonight.
The Auckland franchise went into the game having losing five straight games but still held the favourites tag against an opposition with 10 defeats in a row, the last Taipan's victory coming in their opening game of the season back in October.
However the Breakers were certainly made to work for it. They looked to be in control after taking an 11-point advantage early in the third quarter but somehow coughed up the lead to trail 65-62 going into the final stanza. But they closed out the game with a dominant 27-13 fourth quarter to pick up just their third road win of the season.
The victory should give Kevin Braswell's side some much needed confidence after a month long stretch to forget.
Former Taipan Jarrad Weeks had a fitting return to Cairns top-scoring for the Breakers with 17 points including a crucial three-pointer midway through the final quarter which all but ended any hope of a win for the home side. Import Shawn Long scored 16 points to go with 13 rebounds as he dominated the boards at both ends of the court. Shea Ili (14), Tom Abercrombie (14) and Tai Wesley (11) also reached double figures while Corey Webster again went missing with three points from just 12 minutes on the floor, not featuring in the final quarter.
Taipans guard Melo Trimple led all scorers with 23 points while teammate Devon Hall scored 14, 10 of which came in the first quarter.
Long said the frustrations of the last few weeks and calls against his side were flipped into a positive going into the bottom of the table clash.
"I think I turned it the right way and used it as part of my energy to go out there and do what I got to do for my team," Long said after the win.
"Hopefully we can build on it and keep going. It was a big game for us, just to make a statement that we're still around, we're still here. The only place we can go from here is up. That's on us though," he added.
"It's always great getting a road win. We started off a little rocky in the second half but we pulled it together, we brought the energy and I think we just need to keep that up. If we do that, we'll be good."
The Breakers host the Hawks on Friday in Hamilton - the final game before the Christmas break as they look to wrap up the first up of the season by backing up a solid performance and offer no gifts to the team one spot above them on the table.