Breakers vs. Crocs: The Difference

I currently have a year’s worth of material to cover before my upcoming exams, but much like the Breakers’ offensive output this season, I would like to establish some semblance of consistency in terms of my recaps. So here I am taking a page out of’s “The Difference”. After each Mavericks game, the inimitable Rob Mahoney summarizes the game by the amount of points the game was decided by. Conveniently for me, let me just drop two pieces of wisdom before I shoot off to do ma thang again:

–       Same shit, different week. Again the Breakers looked like they were teetering on the brink of blowing a game that they appeared to be comfortably in control of, and again Cedric Jackson shook off a subpar shooting performance to save the game. His final line: 1-7 from the floor, 3-6 from the line, 7 assists 4 turnovers and just 5 points. However, that one field goal would be the difference in the game, as he drove right into the teeth of the defense and nailed the go ahead bucket with 3 seconds to go. Soon after, Vukona would steal the inbounds and take it the other way for a dunk which sent the crowd into euphoric pandemonium (although the bucket would not officially count as it came after the buzzer sounded). The Breakers’ overall offensive efficiency is still lacking, and at the end of the day the point guard needs to take some responsibility for that. Plus his opposite number got the better end of their duel as Gary Ervin scored 21points on an efficient 16 shots, with 8 of them coming at the end of a frenetic 4th quarter to get the Townsville side back into it. And yet, Cedric Jackson proved once again that he’s a bottom-line guy, as he got the all-important W.

–       I’ve been on the record as being let’s say, a little underwhelmed by what Breakers power forward Mika Vukona brings to the table. I thought the Breakers would be better off exploiting their unique size advantage, and play both Pledger and Wilkinson together more often last year (especially when you consider the fact that thanks to Wilkinson’s shooting ability you wouldn’t necessarily suffer from the usual spacing issues that you might normally face when playing two centers together). Add in my unabashed love for all that Dillonsanity brings to the table, and I was not one of Vukona’s biggest fans. On Friday night however, Vukona was an absolute SAVAGE. 15 points, 15 rebounds (four on the offensive end), 3 assists 3 steals and zero turnovers later, I’m back out on the curb trying to flag down the Vukona bandwagon so I can sneak back on. In a game decided in the paint and requiring both teams to dig in deep defensively and win the energy battle, Vukona set the tone with his aggressive play (all but 4 of his shot attempts were in the paint). Being more statistically inclined, I tend to reject subjective platitudes such as “desire” and “want-to” (usually a lazy euphemism in the NBA to describe the contributions of white players with limited skill and athleticism), but there is something to be said for a team’s attitude, mental toughness, and collective identity. And while such qualities can’t necessarily be quantified, they are very real and very important qualities for any prospective championship contender to possess. For the second week in a row, the Breakers showed me a little something in shaking off a frustrating day at the offensive end, refusing to panic when the game started to slip away, and taking care of business to win the game, style points be damned.

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