Breakers impress but fall short against Phoenix Suns

Author
NZ Herald,
Section
Basketball,
Publish Date
Thursday, 4 October 2018, 3:23PM
DeAndre Ayton of the Phoenix Suns grabs the rebound. Photo / Getty
DeAndre Ayton of the Phoenix Suns grabs the rebound. Photo / Getty

A valiant effort from the NZ Breakers wasn't enough to cause an historic upset against the Phoenix Suns, falling to a 91-86 loss in Arizona.

It was a promising sign ahead of the NBL season that the squad were able to hang with an NBA team for the full 48 minutes, and were able to out-score the Suns by 10 in the final quarter.

Corey Webster led all scorers with 27 points. He had the hot hand all night and wasn't shy of letting it fly - draining 11 of his 24 attempts. However, poor free throw shooting undid the Breakers, as they missed 10 of 28 attempts from the charity stripe.

Suns rookie DeAndre Ayton impressed with a dominant performance in the post. He posted 21 points with 15 rebounds and three blocks.

Here's how the match played out: 

Two weeks out from the beginning of the NBA season, the young Phoenix Suns squad is looking to build combinations.

So when they host the NZ Breakers in Arizona tomorrow, it's hard to expect the team to produce a flawless performance.

As veteran power forward Ryan Anderson told Radio Sport Breakfast, the game against the Breakers should be competitive, but is little more than a practice run.

"We need to build together. We have a young team, so we need to build up some kind of chemistry and have more experience together – so anytime we can step out on the court is good for us.

"It's a long flight over here for a game and we know that they're very competitive."

Heading into his 11th season in the NBA, Anderson was one of a number of new faces joining the Suns this season as they looked to bring some experienced heads in to help shape the young talent on the roster. He was acquired by trade along with small forward Trevor Ariza from the Houston Rockets, and was expected to feature heavily in the rotation early in the season.

Another new addition to the team, head coach Igor Kokoskov, said his team would be approaching the game against the Breakers as they would any other game as they looked to solidify their systems ahead of their regular season opener.

"We have a lot of respect for international teams that come here. They're going to be motivated and for some guys it's going to be a lifetime opportunity to play against the NBA," Kokoskov said.

"For our players, the approach is going to be the same, like we're playing anybody else. We'll give them respect. Our main focus is going to be on us, but we'll give you guys respect."

For the Breakers, the match gives them another opportunity to work on what shapes up to be a high tempo offensive game this season. Shooting range and athleticism look to be keys for the Breakers plans. Import big Shawn Long should make an impact, having played in the NBA previously, while Corey Webster looks to be the side's main offensive threat.

 

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