Basketball: NZ Breakers coach Mody Maor humbled, grateful as record crowd attend ANBL finals clash against Sydney Kings

At the start of the 2022/23 ANBL season, NZ Breakers coach Mody Maor wanted to win back the support of his side's fanbase.

After their 80-70 victory over Sydney Kings to force a decider in the ANBL's finals series, there's no denying that's exactly what Maor and the Breakers have done.

Maor, 37, took the reins at the start of the season, as Dan Shamir stood down to be closer to his family.

The Breakers finished 2021/22 with a 5-23 record - bottom of the table - to cap a frustrating season based in Australia, due to the travel impacts of COVID-19.

Little more than a year later, they finished the regular season with an 18-10 record, qualifying for the playoffs in second place.

Sunday's victory leaves the Breakers one win away from claiming a fifth ANBL championship and first since 2015.

With Kings also one win away from their fifth title and second in succession, the decider will be played on Wednesday night at Sydney.

Just under 10,000 fans (9728) packed into Spark Arena - a record for the biggest crowd to watch a basketball game in New Zealand.

Naturally, Maor doesn't want to dwell on the display and is instead looking ahead to the series decider.

In the meantime, the support shown to the Breakers over the finals and season as a whole leaves Maor confident that his job - in that respect- is done.

"I really don't want to answer any 'big picture' questions about anything that's not the game," said Maor. "All I want is my team to be focused for game five, but for Breaker Nation, this was our last home game of the year, regardless of the result.

Mody Maor.
Mody Maor. Photo credit: Photosport

"It was one of our biggest goals to put a team on the floor that the fans in New Zealand feel represents them the right way, resonates with them... the way we do things is something they feel connected to.

"I was told this was the most people to ever come to an indoor sporting event in New Zealand.

"I'm humbled and grateful. We're going to do keep doing everything we can to represent them the right way."

The Breakers boast a 1-1 record against Sydney away from home in this finals series, with the decider scheduled for the Kings' Qudos Bank Arena. 

Join Newshub at 9:30pm Wednesday for live updates of the ANBL finals decider between the Breakers and Kings