Official Player Websites Subscribe - Free Newsletter

Sports News First

Breakers, Taipans win NBL thrillers

By Chris Pike
3 November 2012 02:08PM EST

A MIKA Vukona buzzer-beater and dominant Cairns overtime period saw the New Zealand Breakers and Taipans record thrilling NBL wins on Friday night to open Round 5 action.

The defending champion Breakers were pushed right to the limit by the Kings at the North Shore Events in Auckland on Friday with the game coming down to the last play.

New Zealand point guard Cedric Jackson drove into the paint and dished the ball out to unlucky three-point shooter Vukona, who coolly knocked down just the 12th triple of his 218-game NBL career to break the 76-all deadlock to win the game for the Breakers.

Meanwhile, the Reptile Rumble in Townsville between the Crocodiles and Cairns Taipans also went down to the wire with the teams unable to be separated at the end of regulation.

However, Jamar Wilson and the Taipans dominated in overtime to run out 92-80 winners and keep the Crocs winless after six games this season.

Round 5 of the NBL season began in Auckland on Friday with the two-time defending champion Breakers hosting a Sydney team that had come off an impressive two-win weekend on the road to Townsville and Cairns.

It was a tight affair all game long as well but when New Zealand opened up a 13-point advantage late in the third quarter it appeared the home side had done enough to take control, but Ben Madgen and the rest of the Kings refused to go away.

Exciting import point guard Corin Henry tied scores up at 76-76 with 51 seconds remaining, but the game came down to the final play and it was Vukona who won the game for the Breakers with his three with a second to go before Madgen missed a Hail Mary on the buzzer for the Kings.

Jackson was terrific for New Zealand with 22 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and four steals. Centre Alex Pledger had 16 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks with Daryl Corletto adding 12 points and Vukona 10 to go with his seven boards and three assists.

It was a brave effort from the Kings with Madgen scoring 30 points on 11-of-20 shooting to go with six assists and five boards. Aaron Bruce added 14 points while import big man Darnell Lazare had nine points, nine rebounds, three steals and three blocks.

Sydney coach Shane Heal couldn’t help but tip his hat to Vukona's game-winning shot at the end and despite the impressive showing from the Kings to get so close to the Breakers in New Zealand, he wasn’t satisfied.

"That was the scout, but it didn't just come down to the last shot," Heal said.

"Take your hat off to Mika - he's a veteran and he made the shot when it counted.

"But for us, it was the breakdowns around the court during the game and not dealing with some of the physicality that New Zealand put on. It was a great learning experience for our team."

In Townsville also on Friday night, even though the Crocs started well to lead by four points at quarter-time, Cairns took control after that to lead by as many as 15 points early in the final period.

However, Townsville was desperate for its first win of the season and refused to go away and stormed back to level the scores at 77-77 to send the game into overtime. It was all Cairns in extra time, though, as they scored 15 to just three from Townsville to run out 92-80 winners.

Six Cairns players scored in double-figures led by 25 points and nine rebounds from point guard Wilson. Cameron Gliddon added 17 points, Shane Edwards 11, Cameron Tragardh 11, Clint Steindl 10 and Alex Loughton 10.

It was a tough loss in the end for Townsville to take as it falls to 0-6 on the season. Former league MVP Gary Ervin starred for the Crocs with 23 points and seven assists with Todd Blanchfield and Peter Crawford adding 12 points apiece.

Townsville coach Paul Woolpert isn’t letting anyone in the Crocs team drop their heads despite the 0-6 start especially with the short turnaround before playing the Tigers in Melbourne on Sunday.

"At times we were outstanding, at times we weren't and it's very frustrating," Woolpert said.

"We haven't won a basketball game yet (but) if you hang your head you're giving up a little bit and I won't do that and no one in our locker room will do that."

The round's action will continue on Sunday with a top-of-the-table clash between the NBL's two undefeated teams, Wollongong and Perth, at the WIN Entertainment Centre.

The Sydney Kings also face the Adelaide 36ers at the Sydney Entertainment Centre with Melbourne and Townsville doing battle at Hisense Arena with both teams desperate for a first win this season.

Your view first

Add your comment... Comments (0)