Basketball commentator Casey Frank believes two aspects of the New Zealand Breakers’ game allowed them to overcome the Sydney Kings 80-70 on Sunday night to force a fifth-game decider.
The Breakers levelled the series to 2-2 in front of a sold-out Spark Arena crowd in Auckland to keep their title hopes alive.
Led by star imports Jarrell Brantley and Barry Brown Jr., Mody Maor’s side effectively shut down the Kings’ attack to keep star shooter and league MVP Xavier Cooks to just 10 points.
Dominant at both ends of the court, Frank says the first factor that allowed the Breakers to claim Game 4 was their immense work in transition.
“I think they did a great job in transition,” Frank told SENZ Mornings.
“They really lifted all those transition opportunities, they’ve been doing a nice job of that the entire series but what we saw in this one was the Breakers were able to get (the Kings) on the offensive less, keep them attached to that side of half court there and at the same time, they were able to get back and transition and stop those plays.
“I think they did a much better job of staying connected to the shooters, there was that stretch in Game 3 where we saw Dejan Vasiljevic just get some wide-open looks from the lane and you can’t lose shooters of that quality.”
The Breakers also showed more composure during their crucial fourth-game victory, holding on to possession and shutting down the Kings to assert themselves over their opponents for the entire 40 minutes.
“We’ve heard coach Mody Maor say time and time again that if you relax for a second against this team that the Sydney Kings will just explode on you offensively,” Frank added.
“What I saw yesterday was a team in the Breakers that for the first time in this series, played a complete game.
“They never really let their guard down … and I was really impressed with the 40-minute performance on the defensive side.”
With the series locked in a tie, the Breakers will now head back over the ditch to face the Kings one final time in the winner-takes-all fifth-game decider on Wednesday night.
The match will begin at 9:30pm NZDT at Qudos Bank Arena.