A boom in the fourth quarter from Casper Ware helped Sydney Kings celebrate their return with an 84-74 NBL win over the New Zealand Breakers.
With the Kings forced to spend their first six matches in Queensland due to COVID-19 restrictions, Ware appeared rusted on his home pitch when he missed seven of his eight opening shots on Friday night.
Breakers star Corey Webster, who has a game-high 25 points, looks set to ruin the Kings welcoming party by directing his team to a five-point lead midway through the final quarter.
But Ware shows why he’s still considered one of the league’s stoppers, racking up eight points and helping another key bucket to power the Kings on the stretch.
The American guard finished with 22 points on a 6-16 shot, with fellow importer Jarrell Martin and rookie sniper Dejan Vasiljevic adding 20 and 17 points, respectively.
Key Breaker striker Lamar Patterson contributed only six points with a 1-8 shot.
“That’s what the winner does. He is a champion in that aspect,” Kings coach Adam Forde said of Ware’s performance.
We look forward to a lot of his guidance and experience on the pitch, especially in big moments.
It definitely made my job as a coach easier knowing that Casper was helping lead the attack. “
In what is also the port city ‘s first NBL contest since the third game of the series’ finals that ended abruptly last year, the teams were almost inseparable until Ware’s final heroic game.
No fouls got into rhythm in the first half, with Martin battling foul issues and Ware unable to connect to his first field goal until the last minute of the first half.
Webster replaced Patterson’s disappointing display with 12 points in the second period to keep his team in the contest, before Ware and Martin began to find their way in the third.
Breakers coach Dan Shamir admits his team have struggled to live away from home, but refuses to use their temporary relocation to Australia and ongoing uncertainty as an excuse for their 1-4 start to the campaign.
“I really want to speak openly to share my thoughts, but I don’t want it to sound like there’s an excuse,” he said.
“From what I can see, they don’t really have a moment in life. They are either with their team-mates or alone in a hotel room, so it’s not easy. But no one will feel sorry for us.”
The Kings host Illawarra Hawks at home on Sunday, while the Breakers await permission to travel to Melbourne for next week’s NBL Cup.
Tall Black Tom Abercrombie with his wife Monique-Raquel. Photo / Getty
New Zealand Breakers and Tall Blacks basketball player Tom Abercrombie has criticized his family for being given a special MIQ and quarantine treatment based on his status as a sports star.
Abercrombie’s wife, Monique-Raquel and their three children are granted exemptions for completing their 14 days of mandatory home quarantine after traveling back from Australia.
Monique-Raquel tagged Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on social media, complaining about the state of the hotel room they were housed in, which is believed to be in a facility near Auckland International Airport.
Abercrombie, who is in Australia with other members of the Breakers team, told Newstalk ZB’s Heather du Plessis-Allan that two of their three children have high needs, prompting them to apply for medical exemptions.
“[They] have significant behavioral and medical problems, I don’t want to go into detail about what they are, “he said.” The evidence we put forth in our app is sufficient for the power to decide it’s the best thing for them, so they’re obviously significant enough for those people to make that decision.
The fact that I am a basketball player or where I live has absolutely nothing to do with that decision and I would be very disappointed if that happened.
“I am very disappointed and frustrated.”
Abercrombie said he and his family were well aware their application might be rejected – they were likely satisfied.
“We submitted an exemption on the assumption that we might not get it, obviously very hard to get and not everyone gets it and we are very grateful.
“Otherwise, they will have to isolate themselves in the facility.”
He added they would be happy to cover the additional costs if needed.
The 33-year-old’s family traveled with him to Melbourne before the start of the Australian NBL season, where the team will be based. However, due to the Covid-19 outbreak in early January in Victoria, the club was forced to move again, this time to Hobart.
Abercrombie’s wife and son then chose to go home. They were greeted by isolation facilities which he said were “concerning”.
He admits that looking back, complaining on social media was not the right first step.
“Given the situation again, I don’t think it’s the right way to do things. But it was an emotional and stressful time for my wife, we literally had two hours to pack our bags in Tasmania, catch the plane the next two hours and she flew all the way back to New Zealand from Melbourne with little sleep.
“If he had more time, we would not publicize the complaint, but also the situation he faced in managed isolation which I think is not suitable for families or individuals who come in with mold and objects on the windowsill where a potential virus can live. “
Last month, Abercrombie told NZME – after moving to Hobart – he worries that the task of looking after three children could become tough work for his wife when away from her usual home.
The quarantine issue is just another fire Abercrombie has to put out, which turns out to be a trying start for the NBL season.
He and his Breakers teammates have had to battle the ongoing Covid-related issues since arriving in Australia.
The club were forced to remain in Adelaide last week following their first two games of the season due to players feeling unwell, leading to preventive testing and staying in South Australia.
They have been allowed to return to training, and will next play Cairns Taipans on Saturday.
Corey Webster’s shooting prowess will be missed by the NZ Breakers when they open for the NBL 2021 season on January 13. Photos / Photosport
New Zealand Breakers star Corey Webster will miss at least the first two weeks of the Australian National Basketball League season after slicing a nerve in his hand with a knife in his kitchen.
Webster, who has been wracked with chaos in 2020 by the Covid-19 pandemic, will now start the season on the sidelines after breaking a hand in an unsuccessful attempt to cut avocado.
“Corey tried, maybe without success, to prepare dinner for himself and when he was trying to play one on one with the avocado, the avocado hit him and he got a pretty serious cut on the palm of his hand,” Breakers coach Dan Shamir told Newstalk ZB.
Webster, a guard shooting specialist for Breakers, has had surgery for a wound affecting the non-firing hand and will be limited to training for the next month.
“Actually, he needed surgery because one of the nerves in his palm was damaged.
“At first we didn’t know how badly and how long it would take, but yesterday, when he visited the surgeons again, they were very happy that everything was fine and he would be able to play; but it would take another four weeks for him to recover. completely so he would have missed the first [two] week of the season.
“He’s not going to be able to play basketball too much because of the danger of these cuts and stitches having to heal properly. Therefore he won’t be able to bounce the ball or catch or anything like that.
“We will do everything to keep him fit as much as possible and I am just happy that it is his left hand and not his shooting hand and hopefully over time he will come back to himself.”
This latest setback for Webster comes after 2020 which saw his career stalled by a worldwide health crisis. He left the Breakers mid-season to take up a lucrative contract in China’s basketball league, but returned home soon after the coronavirus broke out in Wuhan province.
Unable to join the Breakers late match in the playoffs, he opted to play in Italy – one of Europe’s top basketball leagues – just at a time when the country was becoming the epicenter of the continent’s disease.
However, after just one game for Virtus Roma’s team, the league was postponed and he was once again back on the coast of New Zealand.
For Breakers coach Dan Shamir, this latest setback is one of many trials the club faces ahead of the 2021 NBL season.
“My reaction is that there are so many things that have happened to me for the first time in recent months and this is another one. Even so, it is annoying enough, this is out of court, but these things can happen and I am happy that the timing will not too long.
“I’m sure he will be back soon, healthy and will help us a lot.”
The NBL Breaker campaign is expected to kick off on January 13th with a match against Melbourne United, although doubts remain as Australia battles several Covid-19 outbreaks.
On her way to greatness, Sarah Pollok has scoured the country in search of local record-breaking and New Zealand’s weirdest bragging rights.
When it comes to being the best, Kiwis can be a humble bunch. Not people to be proud of or proud of, we tend to keep our final locations and incomparable records discreet. But if you’re looking for the highest, oldest, longest, greatest places in New Zealand (and sometimes, the world), we’ve got you covered.
The longest walkable beach
You think it’s a 90 mile beach, don’t you? Well, measuring closer to 54 miles or 86 km, this popular strand is surpassed by its lesser-known but longer sibling, Ripiro Beach. Stretching along the west coast of Northland, at 107 km, this rocky coast is great to enjoy in an outdated four-wheeler.
The oldest living river
It may not be the longest or deepest but at 3 years old, the Whanganui river is officially New Zealand’s oldest “living” river, and the first in the world, to be recognized as a living thing. Given legal status in 2017 in recognition of Māori’s deep connection to the river, legend has it that the waterway was born from the teardrops of Ranginui, the father of heaven.
Longest surf break
There is a lot to love about Raglan, but for surfers, there is something special. That’s right, this bohemian town of Waikato is home to one of the longest left-hand surfing spots in the world. It boasts wild sandy beaches and rugged coastlines, so take a plank and dive in.
Dunedin Baldwin St has held the title of the world’s steepest residential street for 32 years – despite a nine-month coup that ended in April this year. The road with a gradient of 1: 2.86 will always be the most dangerous in Aotearoa, with 1m traversed vertically with every 2.86m traveled horizontally.
The biggest Christmas tree
Feeling festive? Feel the Christmas spirit and visit New Zealand’s largest Christmas tree. Hamilton’s Garden Place tannenbaum tops the list. Soaring 27m high and decorated with lights for optimal excitement, this Waikato icon is sure to have the most loyal person hum a song or two.
Best beach walk
Hidden between Westport Island South and Greymouth, according to Lonely Planet, one of the Top 10 Coastal Movers in the World; Jalan Pantai Besar. Although it will take 90 minutes at full speed, we recommend taking it slowly along the rugged coastline and stopping to enjoy the wild surf beaches and rocks of Punakaiki’s iconic Pancake.
Largest alpaca farm
If New Zealand’s largest alpaca farm is what you’re after (an unusual search, but we didn’t rate), Nevalea Alpacas in Taumarunui boasts first place with over 950 of them. Take one for a walk, cuddle baby and browse the gift shop’s line of trendy alpaca wool sweaters for souvenirs that will never go out of style.
Head to New Zealand’s first capital city and you’ll find the country’s oldest surviving church; Church of Christ (Te Whare Karakia o Kororareka). The 184-year-old Anglican Church in Russell initially served English and Māori and served as a local courthouse.
Coffee with a view, anyone? Perched at 2020m above sea level on Mount Ruapehu, the Knoll Ridge cafe is officially the tallest cafe in New Zealand. The view alone is worth the trip but the chalet architecture also won Design Curial’s “Best Design Cafe in the World” in 2015.
The biggest human catapult
If you have ever wondered what it feels like to be a cannonball, ask no more and load yourself into the biggest human catapult in the world. Located in Queenstown, AJ Hackett Nevis Catapult propels thrill-seekers 150m across the Nevis Valley with up to 3G strength.
Oldest postal service
Remember when email couldn’t be accessed from a screen swipe? Well, if your memory needs jogging (or you were born after a smartphone), head to New Zealand’s oldest running postal service, the Ophir Post Office. A legacy from the gold rush of the 1880s, this 133 year old gem is a charming stopover for history buffs.
At 45.2 m, Tāne Mahuta in Northland’s Waipoua Forest is New Zealand’s largest Kauri tree and an absolutely stunning sight. Named after the Māori Forest God, the giant Kauri is thought to be 1250 to 2500 years old, making it the third oldest tree in the world and part of New Zealand before the first people arrived.
The clearest lake
Aotearoa is known for its lush natural landscapes, it’s no surprise this is where you’ll find the clearest natural bodies of water in the world; Rotomairewhenua Lake (Blue Lake). Located in the depths of Nelson Lake National Park, swimming in the sacred lake is forbidden, but its incredible clarity is no less stunning than the shore.
The first craft beer maker
Long before the cool and cultured drank craft beer, Mike’s Brewery brought New Plymouth customers the first drink in New Zealand. As the oldest micro-brewery in the country, Mike’s has been producing award-winning ales, lagers and pilsners since 1989 and remains as popular as ever.
The longest place name
Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitatahu may not be the simplest place name to pronounce, but when it comes to the longest name in the world, it occupies the first place. Translated to “The place where Tamatea, the man with big knees, who glides, climbs and swallows mountains, is known as the ‘earth eater’, plays his flute for his lover”, you may want to follow the locals of Pōrangahau and call it Taumata Hill.
The oldest pub
Love a good pub? Visit New Zealand’s oldest still operating in its original building; the Moutere Inn. Found in Upper Moutere, the 170-year-old pub continues to keep locals and visitors alike enjoying wine and dinner well, with 13-fold rotating beers, locally sourced wines and home-made pub food.
For more New Zealand travel ideas and inspiration, visit newzealand.com
Steven Adams and RJ Hampton. Photos / Getty and Photosport
Steven Adams is is set to head to New Orleans – and, for a few minutes, it looks like he’s not the only player with New Zealand ties on the deal.
The reported deal – which will see Adams move from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the New Orleans Pelicans as part of a four-team trade centered around the Jrue Holiday being trafficked to the Milwaukee Bucks – is, as you might get from the previous pedantic, somewhat complicated.
So even the man who reported on the trade, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, had a little trouble explaining it, leading fans to believe RJ Hampton was part of the deal.
Hampton, who played for the New Zealand Breakers last season as part of the NBL Australia’s Next Stars program, was picked this week by the Denver Nuggets as their 24th pick in the NBA Draft.
The Nuggets got the pick from the Pelicans in exchange for a 2023 lottery-protected first-round pick, and the Pelicans decided to send that 2023 pick to the Thunder, along with two second-round picks, in exchange for Adams.
Sources: Steven Adams-to-Pelicans trade includes Denver, which trades a 2023 lottery-protected first-round pick for his 24th pick (RJ Hampton) on draft night. That choice goes to Thunder – along with two seconds – for Adams.
When the trade is confirmed, Adams will not be New Zealand’s first ever basketball presence in New Orleans, with Sean Marks playing 79 games over two seasons from 2008-2010, when the franchise was known as the New Orleans Hornets. New Zealand Breakers keeper Corey Webster also spent pre-season with the squad in 2015.