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Breakers labelled soft by coach Henare

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 20/10/2016

Head Coach Paul Henare of New Zealand reacts at a timeout during the round three NBL match between the New Zealand Breakers and the Sydney Kings at the North Shore Events Centre on October 20, 2016. © Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images Head Coach Paul Henare of New Zealand reacts at a timeout during the round three NBL match between the New Zealand Breakers and the Sydney Kings at the North Shore Events Centre on October 20, 2016. Defensive softness is causing NZ Breakers coach Paul Henare more headaches than their stuttering offence as they hunt a rapid form turnaround in Brisbane

The Breakers have 48 hours to recover from Thursday's 92-78 loss to the Sydney Kings in Auckland before facing the Brisbane Bullets in Queensland.

A fired-up Henare's primary message to his team (1-2) is simply to harden up after crashing to a second successive loss while the impressive Kings (3-1) notched a third straight win.

The four-time champions once again failed to clear 80 points but Henare says that was because of their failings without the ball.

"We were soft defensively. We gave up far too many easy baskets and we put them on the free throw line," Henare said.

"We'll have to man up and get ready for a physical battle (in Brisbane) but you'd like to think you'd have that on your home court."

The Breakers' hopes weren't helped by the early foul problems for forwards Akil Mitchell and Mika Vukona - playing his 300th game for the club - which forced them to either watch on or ease off the tough stuff for lengthy periods.

Henare was unconcerned by a sluggish start to the season for veteran scorer Kirk Penney, who was kept quiet again with just eight points.

The 35-year-old drained a couple of early three-pointers but struggled to find himself in good positions after that.

"That's for all of us. We're not exactly lighting up the scoreboard right now and we need to be," Henare said.

"There's still some teething issues there in terms of on-court chemistry and that's purely to do with new guys on the floor figuring each other out."

Henare, who also lamented a "sloppy" high turnover count, rated Sydney highly and says both of their imports - Greg Whittington and Josh Powell - will be a handful for other teams.

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