3 Mar 2023

Breakers take early advantage in NBL finals

11:59 pm on 3 March 2023
Will McDowell-White of the Breakers

Will McDowell-White of the Breakers Photo: AAP / www.photosport.nz

The Breakers are two wins away from their fifth Australian NBL Championship title after they upset the defending champion Sydney Kings 95-87 in Sydney on Friday night.

In game one of the best-of-five finals series the Breakers outscored the hosts in the opening two quarters and took a 54-43 lead into halftime.

A scoring surge by the Kings in the third quarter closed the gap to six points going into the final period.

As the game continued to ebb and flow the Kings got within two points of the Breakers but the visitors held on when it mattered.

Breakers point guard Will McDowell-White was a big part of the difference between the two teams that had been the best in the league all season.

McDowell-White was the equal leading scorer with 19 points and added nine rebounds and nine assists to his player of the game performance.

Import guard Barry Brown Jr again proved his worth to the Breakers coming off the bench scoring 19 points in just over 21 minutes on court - while playing with a broken hand.

Starting forward Jarrell Brantley also contributed 16 points in the win.

Cramp got the best of Kings guard Derrick Walton Jr in the fourth quarter, but before he was forced to leaving the court withering in pain, he scored 12 points and made six assists.

Guard Justin Simon lead the Kings scoring with 18 points and bench player Jordan Hunt was one of the surprises of the opening game of the finals series pouring in a season high 15 points in his 16 minutes on court.

NBL MVP Xavier Cooks had a quiet night for the Kings and will have will have caused his team some concern when he hobbled off court late in the fourth quarter.

A crowd of 13,145 were at Sydney's Qudos Bank Arena for the first game.

Game two is on Sunday at a sold out Spark Arena in Auckland.