15 Feb 2016

Breakers beat Melbourne again

7:13 am on 15 February 2016

The New Zealand Breakers showed they are raring to go for the ANBL basketball Finals with a 70-68 win over their semi-final opponents Melbourne United in Melbourne.

Tai Wesley of the Breakers celebrates a basket.

Tai Wesley was again a dominant force. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Breakers star Tai Wesley again dominated United with 23 points and five rebounds, crucially he scored the go-ahead put back with 5.4 seconds to play, then blocked a last ditch drive to the basket.

The Breakers beat Melbourne twice over the weekend and they will stay in Melbourne where they are due to start the semi-final series against the minor premiers on Thursday.

With all four semi-finals spots locked in, last night's game was essentially a dead rubber, but both clubs made the most of the no-pressure environment, as they banged bodies and traded big plays in the final term.

Breakers guard Corey Webster missed the game after staying in New Zealand with the birth of his first child due any day, while centre Alex Pledger sat out the second half after feeling dizzy at half time.

Even without two championship players the Breakers dominated the rebound count 48-31.

Breakers coach Dean Vickerman said his side had come to Melbourne keen to win and start their campaign for a fifth title in six years on a high.

"When you put on a Breakers' singlet you just want to go and win," Vickerman said post-game.

"I think we'd lose that mindset after we had built some momentum after four wins, we hadn't had an outstanding road record this year so we needed to go and beat another good team on the road."

Melbourne coach Dean Demopoulos said his side's rebounding had to improve and he was confident they would do so ahead of the series opener.

He also praised the Breakers, repeating his belief they were a "dynasty" due to their prolonged championship success.

"It's something that hasn't been a strength of ours from the beginning," Demopoulos said.

"When you meet a team like them at this time of the year that's something they are extremely good at and we're not.

"If we don't get better at it we can't expect a different result."

Perth play Illawarra in the other semi-final series.

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