29 Nov 2014

Breakers cement top spot

8:56 am on 29 November 2014

The Breakers had to come back from an early double-digit deficit to claim a 107-96 over the Sydney Kings in Auckland and cement their place at the top of the NBL basketball ladder.

Cedric Jackson of the Breakers celebrates a three pointer.

Cedric Jackson of the Breakers celebrates a three pointer. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The Kings went on a 14-0 run early on in the game to lead by double-digits in the first quarter, but New Zealand had worked back into the contest and then kept Sydney scoreless for more than five minutes in the third quarter before point guard Cedric Jackson sealed the result for the host in the the fourth.

New Zealand has now won five straight games to improve to a 9-3 record on the season to remain on top of the table while Sydney slips to 4-5.

While Sydney's shooting certainly wasn't bad with 36-of-67 at 54 per cent from the field and 7-of-21 at 33 per cent from long range, New Zealand shot tremendously with 39-of-76 at 51 per cent from the floor and 15-of-29 at 52 per cent from three.

However, what Sydney would have been most disappointed with was giving up 11 offensive rebounds to New Zealand and the Breakers made the most of all those second chances.

Point guard Jackson was the star for the Breakers finishing with 21 points, eight rebounds and eight assists while hitting three massive threes in the final quarter to sew up the victory.

"We are just being unselfish and aggressive. We have been working hard on our offence and the biggest thing to help with that is to lock down our defence when a team is rolling like they were in the first half," Jackson said.

"In the second half I knew I just had to be patience. A lot of the other guys were rolling pretty good so that's the unselfishness of the point guard to keep running the plays and working for your team-mates to get them their shots, and take the opportunities yourself when they come."

Corey Webster also scored 16 points for New Zealand, Tai Wesley 14 (eight rebounds, four assists), Mika Vukona 14, Rhys Carter 14 (4-of-5 from three), Ekene Ibekwe 12 and Reuben Te Rangi 11 in the absence of the injured Tom Abercrombie.

Former NBA player Josh Childress was again terrific for Sydney finishing with 24 points, nine rebounds and five assists while shooting 9-of-14 from the field. Captain Ben Madgen also delivered 22 points but he was disappointed his team couldn't keep going the good work they showed in the first half.

He hopes that now is rectified come Sunday in Adelaide.

"We really attacked the rim well in the first half but they killed us with the offensive boards in the second half. We knew they were great at offensive rebounding but we didn't step up to the challenge unfortunately," Madgen said.

"We are fit and we like the challenge, and I like the schedule and love playing more games so any time I'm happy with it. We'll get a good recovery and be fine for Sunday."

New Zealand next travel to Sydney next Saturday night while the Kings have a short turnaround before playing Adelaide on the road on Sunday.

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