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NBL Bryce Cotton starred in the Perth Wildcats’ overtime win over the New Zealand Breakers | Instant News


Bryce Cotton produced a second-half masterclass, ending with a superb three-pointer at the full-time buzzer, to guide the Perth Wildcats to a gripping 85-79 win over the New Zealand Breakers at the Silverdome.

Cotton, the NBL MVP favorite, overcame a goalless opening season on Tuesday – on the back of a poor match against Adelaide last Saturday – to finish off 26 of his game’s highest 31 points after halftime.

His brilliant display featured an unbalanced three-pointer, double pump to force extra time, which he dominated.

“We had rest time left and the other people knew the game and executed it well (1.7 seconds left in the final quarter),” said Perth coach Trevor Gleeson. “The BC with dual pumps looks like it’s going to run a little short, but we’ll take it.”

The Wildcats looked a long way from starting pace, missing 20 of their first 23 shots, Cotton was goalless until midway through the second half and fellow importer John Mooney (three points with eight per cent) had a rare stinker.

The Breakers, matched by top-notch attacker Finn Delany (25 points, nine rebounds), had their first shot and were leading 23-9 in quarter time.

Then Perth flipped the script in the second set, beating NZ 23-10 to reduce the deficit to a point in the first half before taking the lead early in the third with a third corner from Mitch Norton.

In NBL’s first game in Tasmania since 2005 and first at Launceston since 1982, the Wildcats led 69-63 with one minute remaining in regulation on Todd Blanchfield’s steal and lay-up of third-man Will McDowell-White’s turnover.

But just as the game seemed to be over, McDowell-White made amends with a strong drive and a pair of free throws with 1.7 seconds remaining.

He deliberately tried to miss the second but it veered off, which gave Perth time to set up and erase NZ’s three-point lead.

Cotton did it in spectacular fashion at the full-time bell – after he had unusually missed the previous 17 three-pointers.

Cotton, who scored 20 of Perth’s last 26 points, alone outperformed NZ 9-7 in overtime, further establishing himself as one of the greatest NBL players of all time.

“It is a reminder that matches can be decided by very small things,” said Breakers coach Dan Shamir. “We wanted to miss the last free throw, which is not always easy.

“Cotton then drives the three crazy and here we are at a loss.”

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Illawarra Hawks beat New Zealand Breakers in the NBL Cup | Instant News


The Illawarra Hawks have made their first NBL Cup win after overcoming the disappointing New Zealand Breakers to record a 102-88 win.

The Hawks dominated the opening game of Monday’s double header at Melbourne’s John Cain Arena thanks to a strong defensive effort and hot shots from long range, Brian Goorjian’s side finishing with 16 three-pointers on the night.

Tyler Harvey (22 points) and Justinian Jessup (20) each made four triples while Cam Bairstow scored 3-for-3 from outside the line en route to 17 points.

The Hawks led 54-40 at half-time then answered New Zealand’s every challenge to ensure there would be no repeat of their second-half defeat against Cairns in Saturday’s NBL Cup opener.

“The big thing I like about this group is going through adversity – we went through a lot of losing styles … disappointments – but individually and as a team these guys carry on with it the next day and keep trying to move forward during these challenging times. , “said the Goorjian.

New Zealand are hoping to use their maiden NBL Cup appearance as a turning point for their season, having lost four of their opening five games to sit two wins adrift at bottom.

But the Breakers exposed a series of mishaps in the second quarter, resulting in a 33-19 surge from Illawarra and a 14-point lead in the first half.

“The second quarter hurt us terribly,” said Breakers coach Dan Shamir after his squad gave up 12 turnovers which resulted in an immediate 18 points for the Hawks in that period.

“We came with the right mentality and attitude, but we broke serve very easily in the second quarter … another tough day.”

The Breakers closed the margin to nine points towards the end of the third stanza but luck was in the Hawks’ favor when Jessup’s three goals tallyed despite appearing to be let go after shot time.

Bairstow and Harvey quickly added three points as the lead ended at 81-64.

Corey Webster led the Breakers with 22 points and Tai Webster added 20, while American Colton Iverson had the most rebounds (17) of any player this season.

New Zealand took a hit in the third quarter when Lamar Patterson limped off with a knee injury, leaving the All-NBL First Teamer twice in the race to be fit in Thursday’s clash with the Sydney Kings.

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Casper Ware directs the Sydney Kings through the New Zealand Breakers at NBL | Instant News


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.

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NBL sends South East Melbourne Phoenix and New Zealand Breakers to Hobart due to the COVID-19 outbreak in Victoria | Instant News


The NBL South East Melbourne Phoenix club and New Zealand Breakers will temporarily move to Hobart following the new COVID-19 outbreak in Victoria.

The Breakers have moved to Victoria in preparation for the season, but they will now move to Hobart to ensure they don’t get stranded in the event of another lockdown in the state.

Melbourne United are in Cairns ahead of two pre-season matches against Taiwan.

Sydney Kings and Illawarra Hawks recently moved to the NSW border town of Albury, but they will also be relocated due to the worsening situation.

The NBL has yet to announce where the two teams will be moved.

The Kings are scheduled to play the Perth Wildcats in a grand final rematch in Perth on January 15.

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But with WA closing its borders to NSW and Victoria, the game will almost certainly be rescheduled, along with a number of other games.

“Given the current situation in Melbourne we decided it would be wise for both clubs [Phoenix and Breakers] to move to Hobart and they will be housed and trained there under the strict COVID protocol, “said NBL commissioner Jeremy Loeliger:

“This will give us time to assess and work on the next steps needed as we prepare for the upcoming NBL season.

“We hope that current restrictions and the resulting border closings will be reduced as quickly as possible, but we must remain flexible in our approach and we will continue to be guided by the advice of the relevant state health authorities.”

The NBL had planned to host a hub in Melbourne from February 20 for a month-long 36-game attack, but that is now in danger.

The season is scheduled to kick off with Taipans hosting the Adelaide 36ers in Cairns on January 9.

AAP / ABC

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