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Breakers too strong for Hawks in NBL

The New Zealand Breakers led from start to finish as the Illawarra Hawks were disappointing in their final home game of the NBL season.

Breakers too strong for Hawks in NBL

The New Zealand Breakers led from start to finish as the Illawarra Hawks were disappointing in their final home game of the NBL season.

SHAWN LONG of the Breakers shoots during the NBL match between the Cairns Taipans and the New Zealand Breakers at Cairns Convention Centre in Cairns, Australia.
SHAWN LONG of the Breakers shoots during the NBL match between the Cairns Taipans and the New Zealand Breakers at Cairns Convention Centre in Cairns, Australia. Picture:Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images

The New Zealand Breakers proved too strong for the Illawarra Hawks as they recorded a 96-81 NBL road victory on Saturday night.

Breakers duo Shawn Long (24 points, 11 rebounds, five blocks) and Tai Wesley (23 points, seven rebounds) were dominant figures under the basket as New Zealand outscored Illawarra 48-36 in the paint.


Both teams saw their faint finals hopes dashed after tasting defeat on Thursday night, but the visitors looked more determined to finish their season on a high as they overwhelmed a lacklustre Hawks outfit on their home floor.

The seventh-placed Breakers made the better of a scrappy opening term then held the lead for the rest of the match, giving them the opportunity to move above the Hawks on the ladder in the final round.

"For our group, this is probably what we expected game after game," Breakers coach Kevin Braswell said, after his side controlled the contest from start to finish.

"We haven't fully come together (this season) but I thought the guys showed what we are made of."

Brian Conklin battled hard for the Hawks with 20 points but received little support outside of fellow import Jordair Jett (14).

Illawarra coach Rob Beveridge felt his side struggled to bounce back following Thursday's deflating loss in Brisbane that eliminated them from the finals race.

"It really hit hard and with such a tight turnaround, I think it was really difficult, particularly mentally, to really get up for tonight," Beveridge said.

Behind Wesley's 10 points, the visitors won the first quarter 26-18 with Long showing off his aerial skills with an impressive fast-break dunk.

The home side showed some fight in the second term with Conklin closing the gap to one but fell away in the final 90 seconds for New Zealand to score the last seven points of the half to lead 49-39 at the main break.

With Conklin riding the bench to open the second half, New Zealand pounced to blow the lead out to 18 points.

The Hawks' danger man made an impact when he returned to the action towards the end of the third stanza but could not prevent New Zealand from winning every quarter.

Illawarra will close out their NBL season with an away clash in New Zealand on Thursday night with the Breakers playing the Bullets in Brisbane on Saturday for their final game.

AAP


AAP




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