13/04/2024
Mody Maor is confident that his side has what it takes to overcome Sydney Kings who stand in their way to the playoffs. (Photo: NBL)

Mody Maor is confident that his side has what it takes to overcome Sydney Kings who stand in their way to the playoffs. (Photo: NBL)

Despite facing a continuing barrage of injuries this season, New Zealand Breakers made it to the play-in qualifier and will face off against Sydney Kings at Qudos Bank Arena next Wednesday.

It was the one that got away for the Breakers when they fell agonisingly short to the Kings in game five of the championship series last season.

However, coach Mody Maor made it clear that there was no fear within his side in going back to the venue for a final labelling last year’s loss as a “learning curve”.

“This is part of our growth as a club, me as a coach, the players that were there, this is an experience that we can call upon,” he said.

Maor said his side deserved the opportunity to be competing for a play-in spot and despite all that happened with his side during the tumultuous season that was NBL24, a new season had started now.

“I don’t feel like we snuck into the play-ins, I feel we earned our spot there through a lot of hard work and consistent effort in a lot of different areas,” he said.

“It (the season) doesn’t really matter anymore, there’s one game with everything on the line and it’s something that we’re really excited about.”

New Zealand comes off a six-point loss to Adelaide 36ers in the final regular game of the season.

However, it wasn’t the loss that hurt the team the most. Finn Delany sustained a back injury during the warmup before another dagger was plunged into the heart of Breakers’ fans when star guard Will McDowell-White dislocated his shoulder.

Maor said the interrupted preparation for the match was almost “business as usual” adding that more would be known about the extent of Delany and McDowell-White’s injuries in the coming days.

“Hopefully we’ll know soon enough but thank god we had a lot of reps dealing with different changes to our line-up and rotation (throughout the season),” he said.

“Doctor, scans, (just) waiting to gather a little bit more information before we kind of know how this plays out.”

The eight-day break before the Sydney Kings game could benefit the Breakers enormously with hopes it could be the difference in having McDowell-White and Delany on court in the play-in match.

McDowell-White had been in some good form prior to his recent injury averaging more than 14 points per game in his past four games. He was also finding some strong synergy with teammate and one of the league’s best guards in Parker Jackson-Cartwright.

Sydney Kings flexed its scoring power dismantling South East Melbourne Pheonix by 55 points just a few days ago. Jaylen Adams was at his scintillating best dropping 24 points along with nine assists. Maor said trying to nullify this area would be a key focus in the coming week.

“The amount of talent that exists on the floor, in five positions (there are) players that are capable of doing a lot of different things at a very high level,” he said.

“This is definitely the challenge that they pose.”

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