ANBL: Heroic Scotty Hopson inspiring NZ Breakers' finals push

NZ Breakers import Scotty Hopson says a season full of dramatic twists and setbacks is behind his motivation to lead his team into the NBL finals.

The Breakers' quest to finish inside the top four remain alive after Hopson led a come-from-behind 91-87 win over the Brisbane Bullets at Nissan Arena on Friday night. 

The equation was simple for the Breakers, as defeat would have ended their playoff hopes. 

But Hopson was determined to keep their season alive, scoring a game-high 31 points in the win.

The win improves the Breakers to 14-13 and they must win their final regular-season game against the South East Melbourne Phoenix in Christchurch next Friday to remain in contention. 

They also need the Bullets to lose both their remaining fixtures against Perth Wildcats and Cairns Taipans. If the Breakers and Brisbane finish with the same record, points differential would be required to separate the sides.

If the Breakers make the finals, it would be a massive achievement considering all the adversity they've faced during the season which includes the sacking of import Glen Rice Jnr, the release of Corey Webster, and the death of team manager Fata Letoa.

RJ Hampton with Fata Letoa.
RJ Hampton (L) and Fata Letoa (R). Photo credit: Getty

"We've been through ups and downs, we've been through a lot and we've lost significant others to our team, people who are close to us," Hopson told reporters. 

"We've lost a lot but we've been resilient. It shows in our effort and play each and every time we step on the floor. We're just going to continue to this push down the stretch."

Immediately after the match, Hopson told Fox Sports that he "wanted to prove who's the best player in the league."

And the American guard has been a huge reason why the Breakers remain in finals contention. In December when the Breakers released Webster, they were lingering at the bottom with a 4-10 record. 

They've now won 10 of their last 13 games. 

"I'm just glad to be in this locker room with these guys fighting each and every day - it showed in our performance today," Hopson added. 

"We understand what's ahead of us, but we're taking it one game at a time." 

The Bullets, coached by former Breakers boss Andrej Lemanis, started strongly and raced out to a 10-0 lead after two minutes. 

But Hopson, along with forward Finn Delaney inspired the fightback as the pair combined for the game-winning basket in the dying seconds. 

"We've been through a lot, we came here and played with basically six players, started 10-0 down," Breakers coach Dan Shamir said.

"In terms of the basketball, it was a late in the season playoff game ... obviously, we were very happy to finish on the winning side."