The New Zealand Breakers winless start to the season continued as they went down to the Adelaide 36ers for the second time to start their Australian NBL season.
A frustrated Breakers side have recorded their second straight loss to the 36ers after Friday's 94-91 overtime loss. The New Zealand club succumbed to a disappointing 88-78 defeat in Wednesday night’s rematch at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre.
After last week's blockbuster performance, Tai Webster could only manage (15 points, seven assists), while Finn Delany led the scoring for the Kiwi club with (19 points, six rebounds, three blocks). The returning Corey Webster impressed with (17 points) while import Colton Iverson was much improved with a game under his belt to chip in with a double-double of 12 points, 10 rebounds and a couple of steals.
But the story of the game for the visitors was former Brisbane Bullets superstar Lamar Patterson.
The former MVP went scoreless on the night from 0/5 shooting and played less than 15 minutes with the back-to-back ANBL first-team player clearly lacking game fitness.
"We'll hopefully get him to point he plays his role on this team, which is huge," Shamir says. "One of the main factors for basketball players is being in elite shape.
"Sometimes it's not easy to do that after a while off the floor. We all came from a long time off the court and I think as a group we aren't there."
Adelaide were playing their fifth consecutive home game and on the back of a flying start where Isaac Humphries (21 points, five rebounds) and Josh Giddey (13 points, 10 rebounds) showed the way. The Sixers led from the go and went on to win by 10.
New Zealand Breakers coach Dan Shamir wasn't mincing words after a second straight defeat.
"We are very unhappy with this game," Shamir says in his post-game press conference. "The result is disappointing, starting the season like this but more importantly how we played.
"The beginning can be tough and sometimes it's tough to bring everything to the court that you want to in terms of knowledge, shooting, playing together, chemistry and everything the team is looking to do. Tonight we looked like we were very early in the process and we definitely have a lot to figure out."
"There is no excuses to be playing this disconnected as everyone is in the same situation and we have to find a way out of it," Shamir says.
The connection between import Patterson and Webster is still growing and something Webster feels will come with time but is under no illusions it needs to be done sooner rather than later.
"It's going to take time to get used to game situations since we haven't played for so long but we need to do it quickly as we don't have long to fix these issues," Corey Webster says. "We need to take a good look in the mirror. It's not just me and Lemar, it's the entire team so it'll be a team effort to get out fo this."
A cleary frustrated Webster lashed out and demanded his side improve quickly as a team after a second poor performance.
"We got to get our sh*t together," he says. "It's early days but we have high expectations of our team.
"We're in a unique situation on the road and don't have the crowd's energy to fed off so we need to come together closer as a team and we need to do it quickly.
"We never wanted to be in this position but it is what it is now and the ceiling is huge for us so we're going to get better."
The visitors struggled on the defensive end of the court as they gave up 54 per cent shooting to the Sixers from the floor and 45 from beyond the arc. Only a terrible night from the home side at the free-throw line (14 of 27) prevented the score blowing out further.
The Breakers started slow again for the second consecutive match to start their season to fall behind by 19 points in the second quarter.
New Zealand did well to fight their way back into the contest finishing with a 15-2 run to be down by six at halftime. Just like their first outing, the third period was their friend as they closed to within a point and again battling to just five back in the final stanza, before eventually just running out of puff.
The Breakers are next back in action on Sunday night against defending champions the Perth Wildcats.
Adelaide 36ers 88 (Isaac Humphries 21, Daniel Johnson 17, Tony Crocker 14, Josh Giddey 13, Sunday Dech 11), NZ Breakers 78 (Finn Delany 19, Corey Webster 17, Tai Webster 15, Colton Iverson 12)