ANBL: NZ Breakers coach Kevin Braswell demands improvement ahead of must-win clash

NZ Breakers coach Kevin Braswell is at a loss to explain his side's woeful performance against Melbourne United in Auckland which has left their ANBL playoff hopes hanging by the thinnest of threads.

Needing to win to keep their playoff hopes alive, the Breakers were steamrolled by Melbourne to lose 107-87 at Spark Arena.

After a close first quarter, Melbourne turned on the jets in the second quarter as the league leaders took at 59-34 lead into the break.

While the Breakers won the third and fourth quarters, they were unable to significantly close the gap as their season record falls to 10-13.

Melbourne's Chris Goulding led the way with a game-high 24 points and five assists coming, while David Barlow finished with 23 points.

The playoff picture remains murky for the Breakers, although it's still mathematically possible they can crack the Top Four if they will all five of their remaining games, along with other results going their way.

If that is to happen, they must win the rematch this weekend across the ditch at Melbourne Arena on Sunday, and Braswell is demanding an improvement from his troops.

"We've got to dig in deep because this should never happen," Braswell said.

"We better play a lot harder than this on Sunday because we're playing for our season.

"I feel like we didn't show up tonight."

Braswell said his side missed Patrick Richard's presence and leadership during the match. The American import was unable to play due to illness and is in doubt for Sunday's match also. 

Armani Moore, who top-scored for the Breakers with 17 points, admitted that his side's first-half performance was unacceptable.

"It was totally about effort tonight and we came out flat," he said.

"It's a critical time right now, especially with us fighting to get into the playoffs, but tonight was came out looking like we basically said it was over.

"That's not how we've been practicing… we come out here against an opponent, and we're acting like we're friends, and we can't do that.

Moore added that the team needs to play with pride if they want to turn things around.

"We're playing to win, and we have to prove we want to win. We go pride as basketballs, but speaking of pride, we definitely played like we didn't have that tonight.

"We need to put this behind up and go out there like we want to be out on the court on Sunday."


Contact Newshub with your story tips: