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Breakers put mammoth loss behind them

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 20/11/2016

<span style="font-size:13px;">The Breakers hope they can quickly scrub a 31-point loss to Illawarra from their memory banks this week.</span> © Mark Kolbe/Getty Images The Breakers hope they can quickly scrub a 31-point loss to Illawarra from their memory banks this week. The New Zealand Breakers are describing their biggest loss in more than six years as a "good kick in the butt" but nothing more.

Two days after beating the Illawarra Hawks 100-85 in Auckland, the Breakers were demolished 109-78 in Wollongong on Sunday.

Turnovers, errant shooting and loose defence were evident throughout a game which left the Breakers (6-5) fourth, one place ahead of the Hawks (5-6).

Veteran forward Kirk Penney didn't want to blame fatigue, even though it was their third successive double-header week.

"The Hawks made some good adjustments, pressuring us, and we didn't handle it well," Penney said.

"We got a good kick in the butt, it was probably a growth game for us.

"We know we've got all the pieces but we lost it a little."

Penney was part of an Illawarra team who swept the Breakers handsomely in all four games last season.

The 35-year-old knew the Hawks were better than what they produced in Auckland but was surprised the Breakers didn't rise to the occasion.

Coach Paul Henare says 22 turnovers, including another four from new guard David Stockton in his second game, is a statistic that can't be repeated, starting with Sunday's game away to the sixth-placed Cairns Taipans (4-6).

"It's one game, not a very good game, not a very pretty game, but it's just one game," he said.

He expressed moderate satisfaction with Stockton's progress since joining as a replacement for injured fellow-American guard Ben Woodside.

"There's going to be a natural transition, especially for a point guard," Henare said.

"He's done a reasonable job, considering he's only had two practices and two games with the team."

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