NZ Breakers have thwarted Sydney Kings’ bid for a second straight Aussie NBL crown – for now – winning 80-70 on their Spark Arena homecourt to force a fifth and deciding game in their finals series across the Tasman.
After a woeful performance on the same court seven days earlier and an second-half implosion on Friday, the Auckland club faced a must-win contest against the defending champions and regular-season pacesetters – and produced their best performance of the season.
At a packed-out venue, American Jarrell Brantley led all scorers with 23 points, while Aussie guard Will McDowell-White compiled 19 points, including three three-pointers, six rebounds and five assists. ANBL Sixth Man of the Year Barry Brown Jr brought 20 points off the bench, including a fourth-quarter power dunk in transition that set an emphatic seal on the result.
The result means the two teams will meet for the championship at Sydney’s Qudos Bank Arena on Wednesday.
“The boys just dug deep and we’re going to a game five,” said McDowell-White. “We’re built to last.
“We’re a team that hasn’t folded this season and we wanted to right our wrongs from game three.
“It will take this effort and a lot more. They’re the defending champs, they’ve been there before… we’re a pretty young group, but we’re fearless.”
NZ Breakers 80 (Brantley 23, McDowell-White 19, Brown Jr 18) Sydney Kings 70 (Walton Jr 18, Glover 12, Cooks 10)
More to come