Breakers grind out tough Wildcats win

THE New Zealand Breakers continue to stay in play-in contention, defeating the Perth Wildcats by 11 points at RAC Arena on Sunday afternoon.

The Breakers looked to bounce back, following their loss against the Illawarra Hawks in Round 17. The Wildcats looked to build from their win in the same round, following their triumph against the Phoenix on the road, setting this match as a crucial contest in regard to ladder standings.

NZ Breakers (89) def. Perth Wildcats (78)

It was a fast start for the Breakers in the first quarter, opening the match scoring the first eight points, being efficient in the paint (12-8 points inside) and lighting it up from the field. Whilst the Breakers were able to control the tempo and pace for majority of the first half, they also limited the Wildcats from three point range. Perth was shooting 0/8, compared to the Breakers, who were shooting at 33 per cent.

The Breakers were efficient on the boards, 26-21 in the first half, as well as from the field, shooting at 17/38 at 45 per cent, compared to the Wildcats, who finished at 12/37 at 32 per cent.

Parker Jackson-Cartwright played a key role in being a playmaker, driving to the basket in transition and creating opportunities for others in the post, helping New Zealand on a 10-2 scoring run. Whilst the Wildcats made a run of their own late in the second quarter, the Breakers maintained a seven-point lead at half time.

Whilst assists were even at 12 apiece, the Breakers maintained ascendancy on the boards, 34-30.

The Breakers won the last quarter, 18-15. Whilst the Wildcats went on another scoring run throughout the quarter, the Breakers were able to find momentum of their own late in the game, holding on to bounce back onto the winners list in a 89-78 victory.

Zylan Cheatham was another that played a crucial rule in the post, finishing as the top scorer with 24 points, eight rebounds and two assists, shooting 7/12 from the field and 6/11 from two point range.

Jackson-Cartwright continued his strong performance in the second half, finishing the game with 19 points, four rebounds, five assists.

Mangok Mathiang was also a solid contributor on both ends of the floor, pouring in 11 points, nine rebounds and one steal.

Mantas Rubstavicius also contributed a solid two-way showing, delivering 10 points, two rebounds, three blocks and one steal.

One negative for the Breakers was the injury to star import Anthony Lamb, who suffered a suspected Achilles tear in the first quarter.

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