Le’Afa lethal off the bench as Breakers best 36ers

THE New Zealand Breakers have claimed a crucial win in the context of their season, downing the Adelaide 36ers thanks to an excellent performance from guard Izayah Le’afa.

Throughout the start of the 2023/24 National Basketball League (NBL) season, both sides had struggled at times, although the 36ers were coming into the game in better form, having turned their season around after the recruitment of Dejan Vasiljevic. However, the Breakers certainly have the talent on their roster and also had home court advantage at Wolfbrook Arena. Either way, the game was crucial for the two teams as they each look to stay in touch with the contending portion of the standings.

It was emphatic a start as New Zealand could have asked for, producing one of its most productive quarters of the season to kick off the match, taking a whopping 20-point lead into the first break. Although the 36ers improved as the game went on, and drew within seven points in the last quarter, the Breakers looked always in control, despite the ejection of head coach Mody Maor. In the end, the home side managed to get the job done to claim a 96-83 win.

Le’Afa was a driving force for the Breakers, helping the team remain in front after Adelaide rallied as the game went on.

New Zealand Breakers (96) def. Adelaide 36ers (83)

Izayah Le’Afa – 21 points, two rebounds, one assist, two steals

Although he came off the bench, not many Breakers had a bigger impact in the win over the 36ers than Le’Afa on Thursday night.

The guard was instrumental for New Zealand offensively, forcing the coaching staff to keep him in the game with some red-hot shooting against Adelaide, exposing the opposition’s struggles in guarding the perimeter.

Le’Afa did all of his work from three-point territory, reflecting how well New Zealand was shooting the ball as a unit. He nailed seven triples on 11 attempts for a ridiculous three-point shooting percentage of 63.6 for the match.

When the Breakers’ offence dried up and Adelaide began to make a run, it was Le’Afa that remained hot from the field, giving the team some breathing space with some handy baskets. Although he was not the team’s leading scorer, Le’Afa made the most of his opportunities, showcasing his hot hand from downtown to drive New Zealand to one of its biggest scores of the season.

Le’Afa may not be given a huge amount of offensive responsibility for New Zealand, he made his chances count against Adelaide and was a serious weapon from long range.

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