The New Zealand basketball clubs’ fall from grace continues to gain momentum as the Breakers move to a 2 win 7 loss record to open the season.
The 88-77 loss in Perth to traditional rivals the Wildcats last night was their 4th consecutive defeat, after winning 1 of their opening three matches under new coach Dan Shamir, and leaves the four-time champions stranded near the bottom of the table.
Shamir said after the game in Perth, "I'm sure everyone feels like me, terrible about this specific game, and just being 2-7. They [Perth] know what they're doing, we still gave them a lot of rhythm shots in the beginning of the game that we shouldn't have.
Making matter worse for the club is the off-court distractions. CEO Matt Walsh was last week fined $5000 and banned from the sideline for Matches after an altercation with ANBL commissioner Jeremy Loeliger in Melbourne.
This was subsequently been cut in half, and controversial recent signing Glenn Rice Jr was arrested and charged with assault last week following a late-night altercation at an Auckland nightclub. Initially not having any taken action, the club was ordered by the league to stand Rice down only hours before the game in Perth, and in a statement, the league said the incident involving the former NBA player will be investigated by the NBL Integrity Unit.
Shamir was philosophical after the game about the late decision from the league about Rice's stand down, "it's not anything that is in our control. Our job, in this business, is always to take care of what you can control, but not to spend any energy on other things," he said.
Despite the season seemingly slipping away, New Zealand’s own superstar player, Corey Webster is keeping alive any hopes the club can turn their season around. After impressing at the World Cup earlier this year, Webster is scoring at 19.3ppg. The point-guard led the teams scoring last night with 23 points.
Down by 12 at half time, Webster did his best to get his team back in the game, scoring 15 of his points in the third quarter, but in the end it wasn't enough to stop the Wildcats record their 8th win of the season, as Bryce Cotton shot out the lights with 36 points of his own.
Captain Tom Abercrombie says despite the losses mounting up, he can't question the effort of his side this season, "We've played our butts off. It’s been the little things that have cost us. Those little things you get at them when you've got continuity and things like that, and its things that we've lacked over this period. But, there is no excuses, you've got to find a way."
The Breakers now head to Adelaide where they'll take on the 6th place 36ers on Saturday.