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Kings crush NZ Breakers by 27 in NBL

NZN 29/01/2017 Tim Keeble

The Kings are firmly back in the playoff picture after Sunday's comprehensive 84-57 trouncing of the New Zealand Breakers in Sydney.Sydney's win followed Friday night's road victory over Brisbane and boosted their record to 13-13 with two games remaining.The Kings are in fourth spot, narrowly behind Perth and Illawarra, while the Breakers (12-14) drop two places to seventh.New Zealand were playing their first game since losing American forward Akil Mitchell to a terrible eye injury in Thursday's home loss to Cairns.Greg Whittington starred for Sydney with 16 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, while Kevin Lisch and Jason Cadee combined for 28.Kirk Penney and Tom Abercrombie scored 13 apiece for the Breakers, who finished with a whopping 25 turnovers and made just 31 per cent of their shot attempts at Qudos Bank Arena.Sydney started slowly, forging ahead 23-19 at quarter-time and taking control with a dominant second period.The Breakers cut a 20-point lead to 45-32 at halftime, only to be overrun in the third period.New Zealand import Paul Carter might be in hot water with the league after being ejected from the game late in the third quarter.Carter was automatically booted after receiving two technical fouls for heatedly protesting a no-call. He had to be restrained by teammates and then received a third technical foul that was subsequently issued to the New Zealand bench.The Kings held an unassailable 32-point lead at three-quarter time, allowing coach Andrew Gaze to empty his bench and rest some of his stars.Sydney's next game is at home on Saturday against Melbourne United, while the Breakers are away on the same day to the Adelaide 36ers.

Sydney coach Andrew Gaze said this weekend was do or die.

"The guys knew the urgency of the situation and they stepped up. But we can't enjoy this win for very long because we're in the same situation next week and the week after that. We're in a dogfight.

"(Injured forward) Brad (Newley) is a very strong chance to play next week and he'd be a great addition to have back in there."

Breakers coach Paul Henare basically said his team gave up.

"There's an underlying 'quit' in us when things get tough and that's concerning," Henare said.

"If we go to Adelaide next week and play like that, we'll get beat by 50."

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