The New Zealand Breakers have moved back to sole leadership of the National Basketball League with a dominant 91-77 victory over the Melbourne Tigers in Auckland.
The defending champions improved their win-loss record to 13-5 on Thursday night to climb above Perth (12-5), although the Wildcats can edge back in front on percentage points when they face Sydney tonight.
Point guard Cedric Jackson again ran the show, and he also weighed in with 12 assists - a category he leads the league in - and 10 points.
He was one of six Breakers to get into double figures for scoring, a list headed by Gary Wilkinson with a game high 21.
The defeat was the fourth in a row for the Tigers, who had gone into the match as a club in turmoil, after owner Seamus McPeake's shock sacking of import Ayinde Ubaka.
But they played with plenty of cohesion in the early stages, and among those who contributed to a sharp start was Liam Rush, who nabbed nine of his team's first 15 points.
Rush ended up as the Tigers' equal top scorer along with Daniel Dillon with 18 points each.
But the Breakers, playing in front a 4,500 full house at the North Shore Events for the third match in row, made their move in a decisive second quarter.
Centre Alex Pledger's dunk from a pinpoint Jackson pass took the Breakers out to a 25-23 lead early in the quarter and from there they were never troubled.
Some slick transition from defence paid dividends for the home side, who opened out a 43-33 cushion by the main break.
A three-point blitz by veteran guard CJ Bruton, who sank three in quick succession, helped the Breakers to a 73-53 lead with a quarter to go and the gap was always going to be too much for the Tigers to claw back.
AAPTags: nbl, basketball, sport, new-zealand, melbourne-3000, vic, australia First posted January 20, 2012 07:59:42