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R14 Report: Sixers' DJ, Randle too much for Breakers

The Adelaide 36ers have won a third straight game to keep their NBL Finals hopes alive handing the New Zealand Breakers a second straight home loss 87-81 at North Shore Events Centre on Friday night. On the back of big nights from point guard Jerome Randle (25 points, eight assists) and centre Daniel Johnson (25 points, 12 rebounds), the Sixers held off the Breakers to improve to a 10-9 record. Lucas Walker also celebrated his 150th game in the NBL with the win. The Breakers couldn't win in Mika Vukona's 350th NBL appearance and have now lost three of their last four to slip 11-8. Vukona worked hard in his milestone for 13 points and 11 rebounds. Cedric Jackson was top-scorer for the Breakers with 16 while league leading-scorer Corey Webster was held to a campaign low of 12 with Adam Gibson's defence particularly effective on him. New father Tom Abercrombie had 13 points with Tai Wesley delivering 14 off the bench. Adelaide opened the scoring with Johnson who combined for 50 points with Randle for the game. The Sixers showed strong form in the first quarter with the Breakers only nabbing the lead for a brief moment in the first two minutes, but after that it became a game of chase. The first quarter ended with a Cedric Jackson half-court buzzer beater reminiscent of his effort in Perth last season. At that point, the Breakers were back within two points but by half-time the 36ers had stretched that to 12 with the visitors shooting 52 per cent from the field. And in the first two minutes of the third quarter Adelaide stretched the lead further with jump shots from Anthony Petrie and Brendan Teys to lead by 17 points. The Breakers hit back after a Dean Vickerman time out with the next 11 points and heading into the fourth, the Sixers lead was just four. A Webster jump shot one minute into the final quarter equalled the game at 65-65, but Adelaide retained the upper hand with cool consistent play led by Johnson and Randle to secure the win. Sixers coach Joey Wright was happy with the way his team kept their poise throughout the game and in shutting down Webster. "We wanted to make sure we knew where he was at and the guys did a good job of locating him," Wright said. "They ran a lot of screens for him and my guys did a great job of fighting through those and challenging the shot." Randle had an enthralling battle with Cedric Jackson and enhanced his MVP claims by leading the Sixers to the important win. He also knew stopping Webster was crucial. "We knew Webster was the sharpshooter and we wanted to figure out a way to stop him," Randle said. Meanwhile, Vickerman was far from happy with the effort from the Breakers while giving full credit to the 36ers. "They played good game of basketball and made things tough. Their intent to get to the foul line and attack meant they were coming up with a few extra points than we were," Vickerman said. "I didn’t like the way we came out in those first few minutes after half-time. In these tight games so many little things need to go right and we need to be sharing the basketball better." The Breakers meet the Illawarra Hawks twice next week –Thursday in Wollongong and Sunday at Vector Arena. The 36ers play the Crocodiles next Saturday in Townsville. ADELAIDE 36ERS 87 (Randle 25, Johnson 25, Teys 9) NEW ZEALAND BREAKERS 81 (Cedric Jackson 16, Abercrombie 13, Vukona 13) BOX SCORE
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