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September 23, 2006 at 10:04 pm #8802
The Mighty Harvey Norman New Zealand Breakers have returned to the winners circle, thrashing the Adelaide 36ers 122-114 at the North Shore Events Centre on Thursday night.
The thrashing recorded a perfect 3-0 series sweep over the 36ers for New Zealand this season and snaps a 10-game losing streak.
It was another outstanding night for the Breakers’ best player Carlos Powell who notched up a game-high 37 points and eight rebounds.
While overshadowed by Powell’s haul, Breaker Aaron Olson also had a top-class night scoring 26, including seven bombs from beyond three-point territory.
It was a must win for the Breakers, who still have a slim chance of reaching the playoffs – provided they win all of their seven remaining games.
Darren Ng was solid for the 36ers with a team-high 24 points and Nick Horvath chipped in with 22 before he fouled out with three minutes remaining.
The electric Powell made a terrific start to the game, scoring all of New Zealand’s first 10 points, including a long-range three.
The Breakers enjoyed an early lead with Ben Pepper chipping in while Oscar Forman and Aaron Olson heated up from beyond the arc.
After much criticism over the past few weeks, the under pressure Breaker defence looked a different unit in the opening quarter, forcing turnovers, steals and getting up for rebounds.
But it was the hosts’ offence which was the standout early, the team clicking in a way fans hadn’t seen in several weeks.
New Zealand carried a nine-point advantage (37-28) after the opening term sparked by seven three-pointers.
With the 36ers desperately in need of a momentum swing Brett Maher and Nick Horvath put their hands up, hitting some tidy shots.
Adelaide made inroads into the deficit late in the second period after two quick three-pointers from Matt Sutton and Maher.
That had the score 58-54 in New Zealand’s favour at halftime, the hosts in front by just four points.
Powell’s early onslaught gave him a game-high 14 points at the major split, with teammate Olson not far behind with 12 – dealing only in threes. Maher was leading the charge for the 36ers with 13.
The Breakers opened with emotion after halftime, fighting hard for every point against a frustrated Adelaide defence.
After running out to a 14-point buffer, New Zealand let the 36ers claw their way back within four after Marcus Timmons drilled two back-to-back threes.
Enter Carlos Powell.
While going on a scoring spree of his own, it was also Powell’s intensity that seemed to pump up his side at a critical moment as they stormed back to a 12-point lead (94-82) at the final break capped by a stunning Henare-to-Powell alley-oop.
Adelaide had no answer to New Zealand’s lethal perimeter arsenal early on into the final stanza with Olson and Forman stepping up in the clutch.
Some more on-point shooting and disciplined defence ensured the hosts an unassailable buffer as they surged to victory.
Adelaide (10-17) now head off to face the Sydney Kings on Saturday while New Zealand (8-18) meet the Melbourne Tigers on the same day.
NZ Breakers 122 (Powell 37, Olson 26, Wooten 17)
Adelaide 36ers 114 (Ng 24, Horvath 22, Maher 20)
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