Topic: Basketball

Royal challenge awaits the Breakers

By James Perry

If the Breakers are concerned about their up-and-down opening round, they're not showing it as they prepare for the Sydney Kings this weekend.

A loss to Brisbane and a win against Melbourne is how the Breakers got their ANBL season started last weekend.

Coach Kevin Braswell is positive his side is heading in the right direction, albeit slowly.

"People think we had success over in Phoenix because we didn't get blown out but I mean, it's going to be a good season, but it's going to take a little while for us to get on the same page."

The Auckland side have a full week to prepare for their next game on Sunday.  They had a relaxed training run yesterday with a half-hour yoga session.

They host the Sydney Kings in round two action at Spark Arena. 

The Kings acquired former NBA star and Australian Boomer Andrew Bogut in the off-season.  The 7ft tall centre played 13 years in the NBA.

However, the Breakers aren't focusing too much on him this weekend. 

Small forward Jordan Ngatai says, "He's going to be the type of physical player that's just going to do what he needs to do but we just need to forget about that, forget about the hype, about the game and just do what we need to do to get the win."

Braswell says the Kings didn't have a great season last year but are possible contenders for the title.  He points out they have many threats other than Bogut.

"Jerome Randall can score anytime he wants.  It's more about taking him away offensively and hopefully we can do some things with that."

Braswell also says that another on the Kings roster, Kevin Lisch, was league MVP only a few years ago.

Overall the ANBL had an interesting opening weekend. 

Of the seven games played, the Perth Wildcats were the only side to win at home, defeating the Illawarra Hawks in a forty point blowout.

The Hawks had to travel across Australia after having gone through four overtime periods against Melbourne.

Braswell thinks the results are a reflection of the standard of the league.

"Every team can beat every team here. The competition, I think, has gotten better and better each year and this is no drop off this year." 

The royal challenge starts at around 2pm on Sunday in Auckland.