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Long powers Breakers to NBL win over Perth

In-form centre Shawn Long's 33 points have led the New Zealand Breakers to a 97-84 NBL win over Perth in Auckland.

Long powers Breakers to NBL win over Perth

In-form centre Shawn Long's 33 points have led the New Zealand Breakers to a 97-84 NBL win over Perth in Auckland.

Shawn Long's explosive form has led the New Zealand Breakers to a second win in three days, pulling away to a crucial 97-84 win over NBL-leading Perth in Auckland.

American centre Long poured in 33 points on Sunday as the home side roared back from a narrow halftime deficit to keep themselves firmly in the playoff picture and heap more misery on the faltering Wildcats.


The Breakers dug deep in a dominant second half with Long again their talisman. He starred with 28 points and 18 rebounds in Friday's 104-96 defeat of the 36ers in Adelaide.

The powerhouse centre shapes as a key figure if the Kiwi club are to push this season for a fifth title and his class has been hailed by fellow in-form big man Tai Wesley.

"He makes my job easy. He's a beast and, when he's not in foul trouble, he's the best five (centre) in the league," Wesley said.

"On offence, he showed his whole arsenal tonight. Defensively, he changes shots, gets rebounds and makes our jobs a lot easier when he's on the court."

An athletic presence inside, it was a rare Long three-pointer which effectively sealed the outcome. It opened the margin to nine points with less than two minutes remaining, quelling a Perth fightback.

A 15-point unbroken run late in the third quarter had swung the contest the Breakers' way (8-9). They move past Illawarra into sixth place and just one win outside the top four.

Wesley mixed 20 points with 10 rebounds while teammate Patrick Richard sank 14 points.

Reigning MVP Bryce Cotton manufactured 27 points for Perth in his return from a hamstring injury, but fellow import Terrico White was their only other player in double figures with 16.

The visitors managed just 37 per cent shooting from the field.

New Zealand shot at 50 per cent and, crucially, avoided the foul problems that had plagued them in three losses earlier this season to Perth.

It was a disappointing 300th game for veteran Wildcats guard Damian Martin, although the defensive kingpin had a personal win by keeping counterpart Corey Webster scoreless.

"Myself included, we had a horrible night shooting. We missed a lot of easy ones around the hoop," Martin said.

"They were fantastic. Long was brilliant and Wesley got too many easy moneys (shots) going through his right hand.

"It's one thing talking about how you want to execute a game plan. It's another doing it and I thought we let them play to their strengths."

AAP


AAP




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