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Breakers brace for final ANBL onslaught

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 18/01/2017 Angelo Risso

© Fiona Goodall/Getty Images The Australian NBL playoffs have come early for the Breakers, who know they need five wins from their last six games to guarantee a spot in the final four.

Import point guard Kevin Dillard's buzzer-beater on Sunday gave last year's runners-up an improbable 84-82 win over Brisbane, and their second straight win.

They had earlier crushed a profligate Sydney Kings 92-74 on Friday.

But the work doesn't end there for Paul Henare's men, who now have to pick themselves up for another double-header this weekend against Illawarra and Perth.

The Breakers' two wins leave them in sixth place on a typically clogged ANBL table, with only the high-flying Adelaide 36ers able to breathe easy.

"We'll take it one game at a time but we know each game is crucially important and we've gone into play-off mode early, we need to win these games," Henare said.

"We don't have any time for relaxing or patting ourselves on the back, we recognise it, we did the job, now we move on to the next one."

After a season ravaged by injuries to key personnel including swingman Tom Abercrombie, things are looking up for the Breakers as their new imports fire.

Dillard has bedded into his surroundings in record time, running the point admirably and scoring almost 22 points per game, while Paul Carter has also looked solid.

Henare praised the pair for their immediate impact on and off the court, saying they had added confidence and buzz to the Breakers' dressing room.

The pair had also helped lift the Breakers' shooting percentages above the 50 per cent mark, critical for success against a clinical Illawarra side.

"Paul is a bubbly sort of guy amongst the group and Kevin has just brought that confidence to the group that everyone's feeding off," Henare said.

"Life finds a way to balance itself out and for us, what we do, we play hoops for a living, you can only control so much."

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