It’s pay­back time for the Break­ers

Taranaki Daily News - - Family Notices -

Bas­ket­ball

It’s been a frus­trat­ing skid for the Break­ers. They have been right there in three of those four straight de­feats, but have let games slip through their grasp with de­fen­sive break­downs, ex­ces­sive foul­ing, poor ex­e­cu­tion in the clutch and, in the case of the de­feat in Perth, slack work on the de­fen­sive boards.

‘‘Of course no one is jump­ing for joy,’’ adds Richard.

‘‘But we see the light at the end of the tun­nel and there are pos­i­tives we can take from all four of those losses.

‘‘If you look at the bright side of it we’ve played a lot of the tough teams, and we’ve played with them, and know we can beat them. It just takes one game to turn things around.’’

That said, Richard ap­pre­ci­ates 1-6 against the big three just is not go­ing to cut it.

‘‘We’re talk­ing about cham­pi­onships and even mak­ing the play­offs and you have to be way bet­ter than that. There are no ex­cuses. We’ve got to find way to do the lit­tle things to get bet­ter, and soon be­cause the sea­son is not wait­ing on us. We’ve got to take the ini­tia­tive now.’’

The 6-4 Kings have played with great free­dom and con­fi­dence in their two wins over the Break­ers and, fresh off a 77-72 home vic­tory over league lead­ers Perth on Thurs­day night, will come in Sun­day with their tails up.

They have an out­stand­ing back­court in Ran­dle and Kevin Lisch and the best in­te­rior pres­ence in the league in the form of Bogut who leads the com­pe­ti­tion in re­bounds and blocked shots. Newley, too, has the abil­ity to run up big num­bers.

For the Break­ers to have a chance they will likely need for­mer NBA player Shawn Long to stay out of foul trou­ble and play ex­tended min­utes.

‘‘With him it’s all about stay­ing on the court and just keepng his head,’’ said Richard. ‘‘When the refs call cer­tain things, just move on from it. Of course it can be frus­trat­ing but you’ve got to stay level-headed and fo­cus on the next play.

‘‘It’s the one thing we stay on him about, be­cause the sky is the limit for him. His tal­ent and skill level are at a high level, and the more he is out there, the bet­ter we’re go­ing to be.’’

The Break­ers need other things to fall into line. They could do with Shea Ili re­find­ing his scor­ing touch, with Corey Web­ster slot­ting back into beast mode and Tom Aber­crom­bie con­tin­u­ing his strong form with the Tall Blacks back with his club.

‘‘We foul way too much,’’ adds Richard. ‘‘De­fen­sively we made some strides a cou­ple of weeks ago but fell back into those old habits again, and of­fen­sive re­bounds killed us last game against Perth. If you give top-three teams extra chances like that they’ll make you pay.’’

A swag of play­ers have had a break over the Fiba win­dow and Richard, who says he’s em­brac­ing his sixth man role, hopes some fresh­ness will see the Break­ers re­turn to court with a spring in their step.

Marc Hin­ton

PHOTOSPORT

Pa­trick Richard says it’s time for the Break­ers to turn nar­row de­feats into much-needed wins.

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