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Breakers beat Perth by 12 points in NBL

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 15/12/2016

The NZ Breakers have unfurled their staunchest defensive outing of the NBL season to smother the Perth Wildcats 69-57 in Auckland.

An ugly clash of last year's grand finalists was dominated by the home side's swarming, physical approach to defence which had been missing for much of a stuttering campaign.

They improve to 8-9, climbing from seventh to fourth on a congested table early in round 11.

One of the teams they leapfrog are the defending champion Wildcats, whose fifth loss in their past six games leaves them 7-8.

Perth appeared to emerge from a slump with last week's 92-89 win over Melbourne United, but their attack was dreadful at times, shooting at just 20 per cent from the field in the first half to trail 33-23.

They were 21 points behind early in the second quarter before Casey Prather, who notched a game-high 23 points, came alive to help reduce the lead to five with four minutes remaining.

However, Perth's attack wobbled again in the final stanza, managing just 11 points.

Towering centre Alex Pledger scored 16 points, reeled off six blocks and pulled down nine rebounds as the hosts dominated the paint.

Forward Tom Abercrombie emerged from a form slump, recording a double-double of 15 points and 11 rebounds.

Kirk Penney scored 16 points, starting at guard in place of Corey Webster, who this week was placed on an injury waiver and would be sidelined for an indefinite period.

Perth face the 36ers in Adelaide next week, while the Breakers played their last home game of the year. Their next fixture is in two weeks - away to Sydney.

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