The NBL has one finalist confirmed in what was one of the wildest playoffs series to date. The Breakers will go into the NBL Finals for the first time in franchise history. Their fightback, after dropping the first game at home whilst losing Mika Vukona, will go down in Breakers folklore.
After being wiped off their home court in the first game of the series, I thought the Breakers were toast heading into game 2 in Perth. The Jungle being one of the toughest places to play to date, especially in a finals series. I didn't get to catch the game but when I checked the box score and saw that Vukona played I couldn't believe it. Without Vukona the Breakers struggle mightily, they find it very hard to stay on the defensive glass and don't have the energy and hustle he brings when on the floor. A huge game from Penney saw the visitors scrape home and send this series to a decider.
It's extremely tough to win in New Zealand, let alone twice in the space of two weeks. I'm sorry but NZ were never losing this game. Bevo even fired them up saying "they didn't lose to the Breakers they lost to Penney". I love ya work Bevo but don't know if firing up the rest of the team away from home was a good idea. The Breakers started slowly but found their defensive gear I hadn't seen in many weeks. They put the clamps on and made life very difficult for the Wildcats to get any clean looks. You know the Breakers mean business when Penney actually tries to play some sort of defense. The Breakers were too good in the end blowing the Wildcats off the floor by 16. They are set to meet a much different opponent in either Townsville or Cairns.
The one thing I didn't understand about this series was that there simply was no defense. NZ dictated the play throughout the series. Even though they lost game one the style of the game was exactly how they liked it, they just couldn't make their shots whereas Perth did. I think Bevo is a great coach and a great bloke but I don't understand his tactics for the rest of the series. Perth have always been a team who knuckles down on the defensive end and plays to their tempo which sometimes is ugly but very effective. I'm sorry but I did not see that once this series. It's a shame as I believe they would be the ones in the finals if they played to their liking. I thought the game in Perth was going to be a low scoring grind except it's another score fest, just how the Breakers like it. The same thing happened in game three. It's just not good enough. I think Perth do have the scoring power to compete but the Breakers have way more. The Wildcats have a way better defensive team and could have easily locked up the Breakers if they played their style of basketball.
We shall now see how if the Breakers can dictate the tempo against two teams who haven't put up a big score in either of their two playoff games.