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Breakers defend home court against 36ers

[ooyala code="Q2dTFueDovGNrq5FRyD1XXs5GxG-esHP" player_id="d5b993422b3e4b5ebd61f9e19ca2a6a5" width="1920" height="1080" auto="true"] It was tight, tense and tough on Thursday evening; and it took one of the top players in the NBL to gain the required fourth-quarter separation as New Zealand shook the Sixers loose in a dominant fourth quarter display at the North Shore Events Centre. The feel was one of a playoff game – tempo flip-flopped multiple times, the lead changed hands 19 times while being tied eight, and tough shots were being made as the New Zealand Breakers had too much for Adelaide when it counted. After posting a career-high 35 points last week, Corey Webster struggled for the first three quarters as the home side found themselves behind at the end of the first three quarters, but the NBA hopeful lit the fuse with a magical minute to get his side up to the 98-88 victory. It was a fourth straight home win for the Breakers (4-3 win/loss record), who now head to Melbourne for a mouth-watering Sunday afternoon clash against the runaway league leaders United. The visitors (now 3-4) had done well to lock down Webster, fresh from rubbing shoulders with the NBA's elite in New Orleans, to just nine points through the first three periods. But with his team trailing by five (70-75) with six minutes remaining the Tall Blacks sharpshooter struck with three straight triples to take the Breakers into an 80-77 lead at the 4:37 mark, knocking the visitors right off their stride. He finished with 20 points, including five of nine from deep. "That definitely makes a difference," said a rueful Adelaide coach Joey Wright afterwards. "We had threes on all three possessions and missed them, and they were good looks for us. "It's just basketball, it's going to happen where a team shoots better than you on the night. Unfortunately it was them tonight. "We paid a lot of attention to him, but he locked in and knocked those shots down. He had nine at halftime, and that was respectable. But he shot the ball well, and is a tough, tough guard." It was far from just the Corey Webster show however, as rugged power forward Tai Wesley again stepped up in Mika Vukona's absence, backing up his career night with another 26 points (11-22 FG) mostly via his swag bag of low post moves, and added eight rebounds and three assists, all while still waiting for his pregnant wife to give birth. Rookie import big Charles Jackson chipped in mightily with a man-sized double-double of 21 points (9-11 FG) and 10 boards (four offensive), earning the praise of coach Dean Vickerman afterwards. "I pulled him out in the first two minutes of the game and just had a great response from him to say, 'yeah, that wasn't acceptable, I didn't quite get it done', and for him to bounce back the way he played for the rest of the game was outstanding," Vickerman said. "He's got something special in his ability to be around the rim and finish." But the Breakers coach agreed it was Webster's nine-point barrage in just over a minute that sealed the deal. "It definitely got us the margin we needed during that period ... we were disappointed the way we finished every quarter up till the fourth and really pleased with the way we finished that last five minutes of the game." Cedric Jackson ran the show for New Zealand, adding 11 points, 13 assists, two steals and a pair of blocks. The 36ers, who host Sydney on Saturday, were paced by Daniel Johnson's 20 points and 15 rebounds, with Ebi Ere adding 15 points (5-11 FG, 3-7 3PT) and Lucas Walker 14 points (6-11 FG) and seven boards.   NZ Breakers 98 (Wesley 26, Charles Jackson 21, Webster 20) Adelaide 36ers 88 (Johnson 20, Ere 15, Walker 14) Box Score
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