Hungry Jack's NBL
R17 Preview: New Zealand v Townsville
Who: New Zealand Breakers v Townsville Crocodiles When: 5.30pm (AEDT), Friday 29 January Where: Vector Arena, Auckland Watch: Fox Sports; Sky Sports NZ; NBL Live App Last time they met: Townsville 89 (Steindl 23, Samhan 16, Norton 14) d New Zealand 66 (Wesley 13, Cedric Jackson 12, Webster 11), Round 16, Townsville Entertainment and Convention Centre
Steindl keeps the run going #HardBall @TsvCrocs @PerthWildcats https://t.co/6LJF5sqvxa — NBL (@NBL) December 19, 2015THE STORY The first question put to New Zealand assistant coach Paul Henare was, ‘What would your answer be if a long-term supporter asked which Breakers team would show up to face Townsville this Friday?’. Before he responded Henare winced, showing how much his team’s recent inconsistent performances have pained the first Breaker to have his jersey retired. “I hope the team that we know,” he said. “We still have faith that we can produce some quality basketball but obviously the sense of urgency is heightened now with where we’re at.” The Breakers were embarrassed in Townsville last round, capping a run of three losses by more than 15 points in seven games, after suffering just four such defeats in their previous 53 outings. “The Crocs game was disgusting, it wasn’t pretty and we had a good honest talk about that afterwards,” he said. “For whatever reason there’s a major drop-off, it’s not like it’s a minor drop-off and you grind your way through and come up short. “We’ve seen a couple of those performances recently at Hawks and at Townsville that are just well below our standards, which is the frustrating part of it.”
Abercrombie with the flush #HardBal @CairnsTaipans @NZBreakers https://t.co/NozUaNNLg5 — NBL (@NBL) January 23, 2016Offensively the Breakers broke out of a slump in Cairns, scoring 87 points at 50 per cent despite another off night for Webster, with Cedric Jackson and Abercrombie once again resembling their usual selves and Alex Pledger an immovable force inside early on. One more loss will see the defending champs effectively giving up that mantle early, while a Crocs win will secure season series wins over New Zealand and Perth – holders of the past six championships – so expect both teams to bring the intensity.