ANBL: Kevin Braswell expects Breakers to keep fighting for unlikely playoff berth

NZ Breakers coach Kevin Braswell wants his players to keep fighting, after their second loss to Melbourne United in three days leaves their already slim playoff hopes in tatters with four games to play.

After losing to the defending champion 107-87 in Auckland on Friday, the Breakers fought back to send Sunday's match in Melbourne into overtime, but ultimately fell short in a 111-102 defeat.

The Breakers held a 46-45 lead at halftime, before the hosts came roaring back with a 14-0 run in the third quarter to lead 80-68 with one period remaining.

The Breakers closed the gap and a Corey Webster three-pointer with 10 seconds remaining levelled the scores to force the match into overtime, but Melbourne showed their class to claim their 16th win of the season.

While the loss all-but ended the Breakers' chances of making the finals, there is a teeny tiny chance they can still qualify for the playoffs, as their final four games are against teams on the same life raft as them.

The Breakers (10-14) tackle the fourth-placed Adelaide 36ers (13-12) in their next match on Friday night, followed by two games against Illawarra Hawks (11-13), before finishing the regular season against theBrisbane Bullets (12-13) on February 16.

In three games this season, the Breakers have beaten both the 36ers and Bullets twice, while the season series is split 1-1 against the Hawks.

The Breakers against the Adelaide 36ers.
The Breakers against the Adelaide 36ers. Photo credit: Getty

With plenty on the line over the next two weeks, Braswell just wants his players to leave everything out on the court.

"I want the guys to keep fighting," said Braswell. "We had a shocker on Friday and to have the chance to play them [Melbourne] again within 48 hours was huge.

"We showed more fight than we did on Friday. I'm trying to keep the focus on us, as we try to win ball games and it always comes down to the last week.

"We play Adelaide who is in the race for top four, we play Brisbane in the final game and we got Illawarra.

"Our schedule is good, because we're playing teams to get inside the top four like we are.

"If we keep up this fight and be a little more consistent on both ends, then we'll be better."

Braswell said the loss against Melbourne was tough and he knew it may come back to bite them.

"They got up 15 on us in the second half and we fought back. It's tough to swallow that one, as we know how desperately we needed that win, especially with Brisbane losing.

"It hurts, it hurts."

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