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R3 Report: Webster returns to lead Breakers over Kings

Corey Webster returned to the NBL with a point to prove on Wednesday leading the New Zealand Breakers to a 74-62 win over the Sydney Kings at North Shore Events Centre. The three-time NBL championship winner is back from the NBA with the New Orleans Pelicans where he narrowly missed a contract, and showed that he is willing to show what they missed out on. The Breakers played their first four games without Webster, for one home win and three losses on the road, and he enjoyed his return starting on fire scoring a basket with his first touch of the ball. Webster scored eight points in the first four minutes and 22 as the game's top-scorer to lead the Breakers to the 12-point victory over a Kings team that battled hard, but missed superstar Josh Childress who is yet to play this season due to a foot injury. With 45 turnovers and three-point shooting of 6-of-44 between the two teams it wasn’t always pretty, but the Breakers had just enough with Tom Abercrombie adding 15 points and 10 rebounds. Cedric Jackson had a good battle with Marcus Thornton, and had 11 points, seven rebounds and six assists for the Breakers with Tai Wesley adding 11 points and seven boards, and Mika Vukona seven points and nine rebounds. Vukona was delighted to have Webster back, but not as happy with his team's 27 turnovers. "It's great (having him back) and he's getting buckets, that's what we need him to do. He came out and was on fire to start with, and that's the class act that he is," Vukona said. "We got away with having 27 turnovers tonight but I think we brought the effort and that got us out of trouble." Thornton was dynamic at times for the Kings and top-scored with 18 points with Jason Cadee adding 13 points, Julian Khazzouh 13 (eight rebounds) and Tom Garlepp six (five boards). Kings coach Damian Cotter was pleased with causing the Breakers into 27 turnovers but letting them collect 17 offensive rebounds and score 13 second chance points let his team down. "If you look at their offensive rebounding count, that cancels the turnovers out. Credit to my blokes with that turnover count of theirs though," Cotter said. "For us it's about making better decisions collectively offensively. It's been a bit of a problem for us the last few games and we need to keep working on fixing that, and controlling the tempo better." New Zealand, thanks to Webster, made a fast start and led 23-14 at the end of the first period and that extended to 26-14 when Wesley hit a three to start the second, but the Kings wouldn’t go away and Khazzouh and Thornton helped bring the half-time deficit to six. Heading into the fourth, it was the Breakers by just seven and despite Thornton continuing to give the Kings a chance with strong moves to the basket, his team never got closer than four points with New Zealand holding winning by 11. The Breakers don’t play again until being back at Vector Arena next Wednesday against the Cairns Taipans while the Kings return home to host the Adelaide 36ers on Friday night. New Zealand Breakers 74 (Webster 22, Abercrombie 15, Cedric Jackson 11, Wesley 11) Sydney Kings 62 (Thornton 18, Cadee 13, Khazzouh 13) BOX SCORE
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