4 Feb 2018

Breakers knock over Hawks to secure playoff spot

6:21 pm on 4 February 2018

The New Zealand Breakers have locked down a spot in the NBL playoff's after their 88-84 victory over the Illawarra Hawks in Auckland.

The Breakers celebrate another win

The Breakers celebrate another win Photo: Photosport

The result means back to back wins for the Breakers over the Hawks following their 77-73 away win on Friday.

As on Friday, the Breakers had to fight their way back into the game after the Hawks got off to a strong start.

The two teams were tied up at 45 points all at halftime before the Breakers established a consistent lead heading into the fourth quarter.

DJ Newbill led the scoring with 20 points with Shea Ili and Tom Abercrombie both on 17 points.

Head Coach Paul Henare said the win highlighted the Breakers depth.

"That was tough for both teams, but we had the extra leg of travel travelling over there last week, but the focus on doing the right things, recovery things and the guys just being pro's paid dividends for us. But also having multiple players to rely on helps us, with different guys stepping up and helping us close out games."

Henare also pinpointed the Breakers offence with the team shooting 51% from the floor and 41% from deep.

"We probably weren't as sharp in terms of execution, but we finished shots better than we have done recently. From long range DJ, Tommy and Sosa put up some great numbers, and that helps."

There are still two rounds of the competition to go but the Breakers 15 win to 9 losses record guarantees the Breakers finish the regular season in the top four along with Melbourne United, the Perth Wildcats and the Adelaide 36ers.

The Breakers will now be fighting for a top two finish in the table to ensure home advantage in the play offs.

New Zealand Breakers 88 (Newbill 22, Ili 17, Abercrombie 17, Sosa 13)

Illawarra Hawks 84 (Clarke 22, Norton 14, Ogilvie 11)