The New Zealand Breakers and the Perth Wildcats have gone through to the grand final series.
The Breakers knocked over the Townsville Crocs winning game three 97 – 80. The Crocs, through Peter Crawford and Todd Blanchfield had kept the deficit to two points at half time before CJ Bruton began to hone in from outside. Leon Henry also added a couple of triples whilst the Crocs offense did show brilliant execution, became clumsy at times. The defence also lapsed on occasions that allowed some Breaker second chance points.
To Townsville’s credit, their production didn’t slow off and they largely didn’t play the Breakers any different than they did in the first half. The Breakers just played with some increased efficiency, a few big shots giving them the confidence to sink some more, the Breakers running away with the 17 point win and a chance to go back-to back champions. But it wasn’t without its own cost. Thomas Abercrombie landed harshly and tore ligaments on his ankle, landing after Peter Crawford challenged a shot. Opinions are divided on the severity of the foul but one thing is certain, The Breakers are no strangers to injuries in the finals. We are pretty sure we’ll see Abercrombie leaping high in the air over the course of next week.
CJ Bruton had 20 points whilst Daryl Corletto and Abercrombie both had 19 for the Breakers. Eddie Gill Crawford finished with a game high 24 points, Luke Schenscher 19 and Blanchfield 12.
Over west the Wildcats steamrolled the Blaze 88-67. After a Blaze charge early in the third period the Wildcats regathered and took the game by the horns to run out with the 21 point victory.
In an emotional game we got to see a Will Hudson dunk, Kevin Lisch fall into a sponsor box and Deleon and Robboins get tangled diving for a loose ball. Our favourite moment was Wortho and Redhage bumping shoulders and exchanging words, definitely one for the fans to conspire to conclude that they hate each other. We reckon they are good friends who text, send Christmas, birthday and get well soon cards and do lunch in the off season.
|Shaggy with his friend, Scooby
As the clock expired, so did Stephen Hoare’s NBL career, the big man venturing into retirement. Hoarey has been a huge asset to the NBL over the years and we wish him the best post retirement. Deleon the lone ranger on 20 points, Worthington 11 and Anthony Petrie 9 points.
Say what you want about Shawn Redhage, but the guy put in a tremendous game. Stepping up and leading the team with an efficient 19 points, Kevin Lisch added 16 and Jesse Wagstaff came off the bench to add 14 points.