Mody Maor. Picture: NZ Breakers Media

Mody Maor. Picture: NZ Breakers Media

The New Zealand Breakers are holding out hope that they can challenge at the pointy end of the NBL24 season despite their play-in chances suffering a hit after losing 94-81 to a formidable Melbourne United outfit on Sunday afternoon.

Despite the loss, Breakers’ coach Mody Maor was optimistic and looked forward to the team’s next match against Brisbane Bullets on Friday. The coach also made mention of two players in particular, a combination which has been proving a headache for opposition teams.

Will McDowell-White dropped 19 points in the side’s loss while Parker Jackson-Cartwright scored 24. The pair combining for 43 of the Breakers’ 81 points.

Jackson-Cartwright needs no introduction, the small guard has been one of the most prolific scorers in the competition this season. Averaging almost 20 points per game and 5.8 assists, he has been crucial to helping his side sit in sixth spot and contend for the Play-Ins.

Despite the side losing Anthony Lamb, McDowell-White has been back in some good touch since returning from injury and was New Zealand’s most damaging player against United shooting 8/12 from the field and knocking down three big shots from beyond the arc.

Maor has recently made the decision to elevate McDowell-White to the starting roster alongside Jackson-Cartwright, a move that may hold the key to a late charge this season.

“There’s a nice synergy building there, we knew this was something that is not the most natural fit in the world, but I also had a lot of faith that this is something that can work,” he said.

“We needed some time … to practice this, time to play like this (and) sadly that wasn’t given to us.”

Maor felt the duo had complemented each other well when starting on the floor together in the past couple games, bringing different things to the team.

The pair both played big minutes in the Breakers’ win against Illawarra Hawks last week and capitalised at the offensive end of the court.

Jackson-Cartwright had an impressive night with 31 points, seven assists and two steals, while McDowell-White dropped 16 points including four three-pointers and pulled down four rebounds.

“They’re finding their rhythm now and they’re doing it really well … they both think fast, are willing passers, there’s obviously a difference in size (too),” Maor said.

“We see now that Will is playing great and it’s taking nothing away from Parker … this is where this team lies right now, it’s in the hands of these two guys.

“(Them) creating for each other, for themselves, for everyone is kind of how we’re going to roll.”

New Zealand Breakers will host Brisbane Bullets on Friday in a must-win game to keep their Championship hopes alive, before taking on the Adelaide 36ers on Sunday.

The Breakers finished runners up last season and will be a team to look out for if they can scrape into the play-ins.

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