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Breakers seek to integrate imports

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 12/01/2017

New NZ Breakers imports Kevin Dillard (L) and Paul Carter after the loss during the round 14 NBL match between the New Zealand Breakers and Adelaide 36ers. © Fiona Goodall/Getty Images New NZ Breakers imports Kevin Dillard (L) and Paul Carter after the loss during the round 14 NBL match between the New Zealand Breakers and Adelaide 36ers. Integrating US imports Paul Carter and Kevin Dillard into the Breakers' game plan as seamlessly as possible remains top priority for coach Paul Henare.

Carter has played just three games for the Breakers, while Dillard made his debut in Sunday's 95-113 loss to the Adelaide 36ers, two days after he arrived in New Zealand.

With only eight games of the regular Australian NBL season remaining, Henare desperately needs the pair to fire on Friday against the Sydney Kings in Auckland.

"The main focus with us on the practice floor is making sure we integrate Kevin and Paul into our system, which is a work in progress," Henare said on Thursday.

"They're two really great guys from a chemistry point of view who have slotted in really well.

"We've just tried not to overload them with too much information so they're still able to go out and play basketball."

With an 8-12 record, the Breakers are mired at the bottom of the NBL ladder, and need to win at least seven of their last eight games to have any hope of making the play-offs.

Sydney have four losses from their last five starts, their sole win coming in an 85-80 defeat of the Breakers two weeks ago.

Henare is hopeful the four-time champion Breakers can still grab a place in the semi-finals.

He says competition leaders Adelaide are looking comfortable, and second-placed Perth Wildcats have hit form.,

"But everyone else is still fighting and scrapping and clawing, trying to find a way into the play-offs."

Key to that for the Breakers will be finding a stronger start than they produced against the 36ers in Auckland on Sunday, where they trailed 31-20 at the first break and 62-40 at halftime.

To that end, Henare said it was important his team were switched on physically and mentally right from the start.

""There's only so much you can talk about it," he said

"It's making sure they're focused on the right things at the start of the game - locking into our defensive scout and offensively making sure we're getting good possession and good shots every time."

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