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GM's Message - Finals

The opening week of the 2016 Swisse NBL finals has provided some extraordinary basketball. On Thursday night New Zealand drew on all their post-season experience to pull out a huge away victory in Game 1 of their series against Melbourne United. By backing it up in a packed Vector Arena in Auckland on Saturday night, the Breakers broke Melbourne hearts to put the table-topping United out of the finals in straight sets. Incredibly, the Breakers will now play off for their fifth championship in six years, which if achieved will elevate their dynasty to nothing the NBL has ever seen before. And with nine consecutive finals series victories under their belt, the Breakers clearly know how to handle the pressure at this point of the season. What’s even more apparent is that whoever they come up against in the grand final is clearly going to have to play inspired basketball to get their hands on the NBL Championship Trophy. At this stage that team could be either the Perth Wildcats or the Illawarra Hawks, with their semi-final series currently locked at one game apiece. Game 1 in Perth on Friday night threw up a massive shock when newly crowned MVP Kevin Lisch went down with a serious ankle injury just before quarter time. Ultimately, Perth proved too strong over the remaining three quarters in the Jungle, but in the return game at the Hawks Nest Illawarra gave a textbook example of how to dig deep when the chips are down. With Lisch watching on from the bench, Illawarra played incredible offensive basketball to crack the 100 point mark for the 12th time this season. Whether or not Lisch is fit for the trip back across the Nullarbor, this Friday night’s Game 3 in Perth is a must watch event. I’m pretty sure there will be a bunch of guys over in New Zealand paying pretty close attention. Interestingly, which ever of Illawarra or Perth make it through to the Grand Final Series will have the home court advantage over the Breakers. Whatever the outcome from here, it’s going to be a gruelling schedule for the teams involved and I wish them all the very best of luck.
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