By Josh Price in Oklahoma City

The Breakers will head home to New Zealand from the United States dejected, but it appears they'd be welcomed back.

The New Zealand club lost both of their pre-season games against NBA opposition - the Memphis Grizzlies and the Oklahoma City Thunder – with the latter a 110-84 thrashing.

It extended the run of now 13 straight matches where ANBL sides have played NBA teams and walked away without victory.


Only a few, including the Breakers' loss to the Phoenix Suns last year, could be considered close.

But any thought that the NBA would lose interest in the matches was quickly put to bed by OKC Thunder coach Billy Donovan following their win over the Breakers.

"I think the game was really productive for us for a couple of reasons," Donovan explained.

"There's a lot of times when you're playing these pre-season games [against other NBA teams], guys aren't really playing their full complement of players for extended minutes.

"The thing that was helpful for us is they played their rotation of their better players, and they played them for the full 48 minutes.

"That's helpful for us and I thought they stayed true to who they were in terms of their ball movement and their offensive package, and they mixed things up defensively.

"For us I think the game was really, really effective because we got a hard playing team that played within a system, and we were able to use a lot of different players to go against that."

New Zealand Breakers guard Corey Webster, right, drives past Oklahoma City Thunder guard Deonte Burton. Photo / AP
New Zealand Breakers guard Corey Webster, right, drives past Oklahoma City Thunder guard Deonte Burton. Photo / AP

The players themselves also saw the value in the pre-season hitouts. Steven Adams, who had an equal-game high 19 points, says the Breakers were a well-coached team that just needed to land a few more shots.


"They have a good system aye, that new coach in [Dan Shamir] he's a smart dude. He knows his stuff.

"They try and play with a lot of pace."

The positive impression could of course be just face value, but the comments should give the organisation hope.

And should Melbourne United lose their US games against the LA Clippers and the Sacramento Kings in the coming days, the Breakers could still be the first ANBL team to beat an NBA side in 16 attempts - if invited back next pre-season.