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Breakers gaining steam for three-peat

By Chris Pike
11 November 2012 12:00AM EST

NEW Zealand's quest for a hat-trick of NBL championships this season is heating up with the Breakers beating the Cairns Taipans 73-54 on Saturday night in their sixth straight victory in the 2012-13 season.

The win caps off a successful weekend for the Breakers who complete the 'Sunshine Swing' with back-to-back wins over the Townsville Crocs on Friday and now the Cairns Taipans on Saturday.

The 19-point win over Cairns on Saturday night is New Zealand's sixth straight victory this season after beginning the campaign with a 21-point loss at home to the Perth Wildcats.

However, since then the Breakers have been outstanding with wins over Adelaide, Townsville (twice), Melbourne, Sydney and now Cairns to secure their spot on top of the NBL ladder just ahead of the Wollongong Hawks and Wildcats.

The Breakers have won the last two NBL championships but lost star import forward Gary Wilkinson after last season's grand final victory over Perth.

They replaced him with former Gold Coast import Will Hudson and have kept the rest of the squad together, and the 6-1 start after six rounds shows that coach Andrej Lemanis continues to do something right in Auckland.

Against Cairns on Saturday night, the Breakers got off to a fast start to take the home crowd out of the equation early and the final margin of 19 points was the biggest the lead got all night.

Point guard Cedric Jackson was outstanding finishing with 20 points, 12 assists, three rebounds and two steals in a dominant performance. He was happy with the whole team's effort this weekend though.

"We are definitely happy," Jackson said.

"We just wanted to play as hard as he could because we knew it was hard playing the back-to-back, but we aren’t a team that makes excuses and we just wanted to give it our all. Luckily we came out and beat a good team in the end."

Hudson also had 14 points and nine rebounds for the Breakers with Alex Pledger adding 11 points and seven boards.

It was a disappointing performance at home for the now 3-4 Taipans with Cameron Tragardh top-scoring with 16 points to go with his five rebounds. Jamar Wilson also had 13 points and five boards.

Taipans coach Aaron Fearne felt that in the end his team got taught a lesson from the two-time defending champions.

"I thought we had the mindset of trying to get after it, I can’t fault that. We played hard, but did we play a little bit too hard on the offensive end, I don't know," Fearne said.

"We just missed so many easy shots, shots in the paint that you’ve got to make, and we just didn’t. We just got taught a lesson by the back-to-back champions, and we’re obviously going to have to learn a lot from that."

NBL Round 6 will conclude on Sunday afternoon with the Adelaide 36ers (3-3) taking on the Perth Wildcats (3-1) at the Adelaide Arena.

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