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NZ Breakers blitz Brisbane Bullets

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 6/11/2016

Towering centre Alex Pledger stepped up again for the Breakers with his second double-double inside two days as the New Zealanders cruised to an 86-70 Australian NBL win over the Brisbane Bullets.

Pledger, who finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds, backed up the 20 points and 10 rebounds he collected in Friday's 98-92 overtime victory against Melbourne United.

He provided sterling support for veteran shooting guard Kirk Penney, who shot a game-high 30 as the Breakers ran away from the Andrej Lemanis-coached Bullets with a dominant 21-9 last-quarter blitz in Auckland on Sunday.

The hard-working Penney was also outstanding on the boards, hauling in seven defensive rebounds as well as contributing four assists and forcing three turnovers.

The Breakers were without injured point guard Ben Woodside, who faces a lengthy stint on the sideline after he was forced from the court on Friday with a fractured foot.

Corey Webster and Isaih Tueta stepped up in Woodside's absence, and although the Breakers' offence took time to adjust, it wasn't too long before their timing clicked.

Penney found his range early from beyond the paint, and with Tom Abercrombie deadly from the free throw line, the Breakers opened out to a seven-point lead at 22-15 as the first quarter closed.

But Brisbane battled back to close the quarter with an 8-0 scoring run sparked by skipper Adam Gibson's three-pointer to lead 23-22 at the first break.

With the scores levelled at 38-38 and halftime four minutes away, the Breakers launched an 11-0 run to lead 49-40 at the main break, Tueta nailing two from long range and Webster one.

Brisbane edged the Breakers 21-16 in the third quarter, Jermaine Beal kick-starting the revival with two three-pointers as the Bullets reduced the Breakers lead to 65-61 at the three-quarter mark.

The Breakers worked hard to shut down Brisbane swingman Torrey Craig, who leads the Bullets in scoring and the league in rebounding, restricting him to just seven points and six rebounds for the match.

Beal top-scored for Brisbane with 16, power forward Mitch Young the only other player to reach double figures with 14.

The Breakers have now won their last three games, and sit third on the ladder behind competition leaders Sydney Kings and second-placed Perth Wildcats.

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