16/04/2024

The New Zealand Breakers have made their status as title contenders known. (Photo: NBL/Twitter)

Izyah Le’afa and Jarrell Brantley put up an impressive shooting first-half display, playing a key part in the Breakers’ blowout victory.

The Bullets struggled to contain Le’afa and his Breakers’ teammates on offence in the first half. Bullets duo DJ Mitchell and Jason Cadee matched up on Le’afa, but the Bullets struggled to slow the Breakers down, as they finished the half with 21 points on highly efficient shooting.

The Breakers controlled the match on their terms, not allowing the Bullets to fight their way through the contest. Nathan Sobey opened the second half, but the Breakers paced the game on their terms, making it tough defensively and finding that slick ball movement offensively.

Breakers coach Mody Maor was disappointed with his side’s second quarter, giving up 47 points for the Bullets after the first half. However, Maor was pleased with the response in the second half.

“I’m very proud of how the guys responded. It shows me that they understand who we are and who we need to be,” Maor said.

“It doesn’t matter who was on the floor in the second half, we defended. I don’t need to drive these guys to keep standards high. They care and they proved it.

“We got a little sloppy and we fixed it, and that’s a great sign. That means we can control.”

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The Breakers shot the lights out in a number of shooting categories in the first half, shooting at 63 per cent from the field, 10 from 15 from the three-point line and dominated the paint, 26-12.

The Breakers combined for 51 to 32 in the second half, limiting the Bullets to 22/59 at 37 per cent from the field, seven from 27 from three point range at 26 per cent.

Continuing his strong dominance in the season, finishing the match with 29 points, eight rebounds, five assists and one steal, forward Jarrell Brantley spoke about the challenges set on the group and the response.

“We started off slow at times. We had slow moments, but we stayed together,” he said.

“We trust each other and offensively, it was flowing, even when it wasn’t our characteristics, we still made a few plays. That was amazing for our team.”

There was an even contribution across the squad, with all players hitting the court and four players in double figures.

All players for the Breakers contributed on the court, whilst four players scored double figures.

Izayah Le’Afa (21 points, four rebounds, five assists, three steals) Dererk Pardon (16 points, four rebounds) Jarrell Brantley (29 points, eight rebounds, five assists, one steal) and Barry Brown Jr (17 points, two rebounds and two assists) were among the Breakers’ best.

The Breakers face another double header in Round 9. They begin the round hosting the Phoenix on Thursday night before playing the Perth Wildcats on Saturday evening.

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