The NBL Championship Series heads into winner-takes-all Game 5 after the New Zealand Breakers defeated the Sydney Kings 80-70 in Auckland.
- Championship Series is now level 2-2
- Jarrell Brantley played a key role in Breakers’ win with 23 points
- The series ends Wednesday night at Game 5
An all-around defense and an offense led by Jarrel Brantley kept the Breakers on the run all night and tied the series at 2-2.
The 2022/23 title will be decided in front of a huge crowd at the Sydney Superdome in Sydney on Wednesday night.
Brantley (23 points), Will McDowell White (19 points) and Barry Brown Jr. (20 points) all trump in a fourth period when the Breakers were seriously challenged.
Delighting the New Zealand-record basketball crowd of 9,742, veteran Tom Abercrombie also played a key role with six incredible steals.
The Mody Moar-led team started the game with a bang and didn’t give up even in a low-scoring first half, enraging the Kings with their brand of physical basketball.
Kings coach Chase Buford pissed off officials throughout, sarcastically endorsing their decision, walks out of post-game press conference, officials look favorably on home crowd claimed.
On the court, NBA league MVP Xavier Cooks was all hoisted up, dragging Breakers big man Derek Purdon to the ground for an unsportsmanlike foul.
Cooks sunk just four points in the first half and sat down after three fouls in the first two quarters, including a disgruntled off-ball charge to Jarrell Brantley.
Brantley was best outfield with 13 points and 3 boards, helping the Breakers to a double-digit lead.
Trailing 39-27 in the main break, the Kings showed their class after the interval, led by Derrick Walton Jr. and Angus Glover.
Both ran out a pair of threes as the Kings put together a 25-point term, narrowing the deficit to just two in a final change that brought the contest to life.
The Breakers missed 9 of their first 17 shots and were off the line. Purdon was the worst offender by spraying his first five.
McDowell-White led the charge in the fourth with two early 3-pointers, but Jordan Hunter responded with three strong layups.
More importantly for the Breakers, the hard-edged defense is back. Abercrombie, meanwhile, scored his two steals in his frenetic 30 seconds and his points in the first field of the night.
Less than four minutes into the game, Brown Jr. closed out the book with his best performance.
The American put down his board, ran the court for a powerful dunk, let the crowd down, and five minutes later confirmed the game with a rainmaker three-pointer.
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-03-12/nbl-nz-breakers-defeat-sydney-kings-game-four/102086662 New Zealand Breakers beat Sydney Kings 80-70 to win the NBL Championship Series