Tag Archives: NBL

Breakers vs. 36ers: Adversity

Swag

Downtown Auckland, 6:41 remaining in the game and the Breakers have but a precarious 4 point lead. Following their disappointing performance at the North Shore Events Centre against old foils the Perth Wildcats, the Breakers came out of this one with a spirited effort. They were pressuring the ball on defense, and on offense they were running hard to the rim and making the extra pass.

But despite Cedric Jackson’s apparent dominance in getting to the hoop at will; despite the half dozen Gasol-like dimes from Dillon Boucher; despite lively and energetic performances from bigs Will Hudson and Alex Pledger; despite dominating the game in every aspect but the scoreboard, the home side just couldn’t shake this Adelaide team. Continue reading

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Breakers vs. Wildcats: Complacency

WANTED: Sense Of Urgency. Last seen 24 April 2012

I suppose it’s entirely appropriate that I post my recap of the Breakers’ curtain raiser 5 days late, considering the Breakers’ similarly sluggish and complacent performance coming out of the gate in defense of their second consecutive NBL title.

Sure, the Breakers faced a quality opponent in their finals rematch with the Perth Wildcats, but the performance that they put forth in front of the rabid sold-out crowd of 4500 was nothing short of MEH-TACULAR. So in honour of this week’s performance (or lack thereof), I present to you my top 5 favourite things to do while procrastinating, paired with 5 related/semi-related/not even slightly related take-home points from the game.

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Back to back: handing out some awards for the 2012 NBL Champions

They say as hard as it is to win a championship, it’s even harder to win it again the next year. You lose guys to other teams, unable to afford their now exorbitant salaries. Guys live it up a little too much in the offseason. Guys who sacrificed for the goal of winning it all begin to feel they should be getting a little more props, more shots, more money, more minutes, more everything. And then every single night when you take the court, you have a bullseye on your back. You are the Champs, and everyone wants to take the scalp of the biggest boys on the block.

Last night, the Breakers overcame all of that and repeated as WORLD CHAMPS (of Australia-New Zealand). Congrats boys. Y’all deserve some props. So I present to you THE OFFICIAL* NBL GRAND FINAL AWARDS CEREMONY.

*Not actually official

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NBL Grand Final Game 2: Living And Dying By Hero Ball

"Sweet 'mo, bro"

People watch sports for a variety of reasons. Some watch if for the pure aesthetics of the game: the joy one gets from watching Andres Iniesta execute a perfectly weighted chip pass into the box; the raw aggression of Blake Griffin taking on a 7 foot tall center 10 feet up in the air and then slamming the ball all over his face; or a tight spiral from Tom Brady to a streaking Randy Moss 40 yards downfield.

Others watch it for the sense of community one gets in being a supporter of a team. Those nights spent mingling with fellow fans at a pub before the match and bellowing “YOU’LL NEVER WALK ALONE” after a victory.

But similarly thrilling to me is watching an athlete at the absolute peak of his abilities. When they come through so often that you EXPECT them to come through every time, and then they continue to deliver above and beyond what anyone expected.

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“Dillonsanity” and the state of basketball in New Zealand

Where white guys trying to chestbump happens

For as long as I can remember, basketball has been the rock that forms the foundation of my life. Some of  my earliest memories involve watching or playing basketball, and I made my first friends in primary school on the basketball court. Of course as I got older, genetics told me to sit the fuck down as dudes with my physical attributes don’t tend to excel in sporting endeavours. And yet, basketball is still what consumes most of my day, as I watch games, read the analysis, and spend hours daydreaming about trades that will never happen or games that are yet to take place.

For years, this had made me somewhat of an oddity. I was the guy who obsessed over a sport played in a country thousands of kilometres away, while being unequivocally neutral towards the sport which is followed with a near religious fervour right in my backyard. Today though, basketball is one of the fastest growing sports in the country, and thanks to globalization and the connecting powers of internet, there is not much difference between following the NBA in Auckland or in New York City. This, and the ever increasing influence of hip hop culture (which basketball will forever be entwined with whether they like it or not), has helped bring the sport to the mainstream of New Zealand popular culture. Of course, it will still never touch rugby (just a few days ago, a bar refused to change the channel to Game 3 of the Breakers Semi-Final game, because they said it would start a riot if they switched over to basketball from rugby. The rugby game in question involved two random Australian teams who no one at the bar had any rooting interest in). But it is growing. This was on full display on Thursday night when the NZ Breakers hosted the Perth Wildcats in Game 1 of the NBL Grand Final, during which I kept somewhat of a running diary (SHOUTS OUT TO BILL SIMMONS). Here is what transpired, to the best of my memory.

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