Basketball: Missed opportunity provides perfect platform for NZ Breakers' ANBL championship bid

A missed opportunity is an opportunity gained for NZ Breakers coach Mody Maor, before their must-win ANBL playoff game against Tasmania JackJumpers at Spark Arena.

The Breakers' defeat in game two at Hobart forced a series decider, with the winners advancing to the Grand Final to play the Sydney Kings or Cairns Taipans in a best-of-five series.

While you would forgive Maor for being frustrated at his team's inability to close out the series, he views it as a necessary learning curve in their bid for a title.

"Frustration is the wrong word," he said. "Frustration can only come if you have the wrong expectations.

"We're going to play or we went to play against a phenomenal team in a great arena, and it's the playoffs - it's not supposed to be easy.

"We were leading for big parts of the game, we were there for big parts of the game, we didn't perform well at the end. We want to do better, but frustration is far from how we feel.

"I think it's another step in this group learning, closing out a series is tough and learning how to play in closeout situations is very important - hopefully."

The Breakers' journey home from Australia has seen fewer hurdles than their track across the trans-Tasman, after they were forced to depart a day early to beat Auckland Airport's closure, due to Cyclone Gabrielle.

With wild weather wreaking havoc in both countries, preparation has been far from easy, but Maor believes his team can once again overcome the trying circumstances.

"I don't know, maybe," he said. "We definitely missed one day at home. 

"These are real professionals, who've been through anything that Mother Nature or the NBL can throw at them during this season.

Dererk Pardon battles for a rebound against Tasmania
Dererk Pardon battles for a rebound against Tasmania. Photo credit: Getty Images

"We've overcome and I expect us to overcome again."

The Breakers will need to be at their best, if they're to topple the ANBL finalists from last season, with a dominant fourth quarter in game two proving far too great for the NZ-based club to overcome.

Breakers veteran Tom Abercrombie is challenging his teammates to dictate the tempo in the series decider, if they are to advance to the Grand Final.

"We got an idea of what happens when we don't come to play," he said. "Those guys came out and were the aggressors, we were half a beat slower with everything and we just did not play Breakers basketball for the entire game.

"We're still good enough that we gave ourselves half a chance, but we're so much better than what we showed in game two, and we have to come out and play our way in game three."