Breakers look to Penney
Breakers coach Paul Henare is hoping a healthy Kirk Penney can spark his bench into action as they look to put last week’s false start behind them against the Sydney Kings.
The Breakers stumbled out of the blocks in their Australian NBL season opener with a sloppy defeat to Cairns, but have the perfect chance to redeem themselves in Auckland tonight in the first of two back-to-back home games against the highly fancied Sydney outfit.
For Penney, it was an uncharacteristically quiet start as the star veteran struggled with the early effects of a stomach virus, scoring just seven points with one assist in 26 minutes off the bench.
After being laid low at the start of the week, he has trained for the last two days and with Henare identifying production from his bench rotation as a key area of improvement, Penney has a pivotal role to play at Spark Arena.
‘‘Kirk is looking good. we sat him out Tuesday but he is bouncing back from feeling quite sick, but he is looking sharp today [Thursday],’’ Henare said.
‘‘Him, Shea [Illi], Finn [Delany], Robbie [Loe], they had a good practice, they put the starting group under pressure and that’s what we need from them every single time they step on the floor.’’
The Kings also head into the game looking to open their season account after conceding a round-high 105 points in the loss to Adelaide.
Henare is expecting a a fierce response from the Andrew Gaze-coached side. ‘‘They will be the same as us, no one likes losing and you want to bounce back and win. I expect they will be fired up for this game.’’