Basketball: NZ Breakers' ANBL playoff hopes dealt major blow by wounded champions Sydney Kings

NZ Breakers' playoff hopes lie in tatters, after an ugly 105-76 capitulation to wounded defending champions Sydney Kings.

After winning the past two ANBL titles and defeating the Breakers for the second of those crowns, the Kings have found themselves under pressure this season, sitting midtable with a 10-11 record under new coach Mahmoud Abdelfattah.

With social media baying for heads to roll, Sydney have answered their critics by comprehensively outplaying their rivals early, effectively ending the contest before halftime.

Will McDowell-White contests the ball against Sydney Kings.
Will McDowell-White contests the ball against Sydney Kings. Photo credit: Getty Images

After making the better start, the Breakers seemed powerless to stop an offensive juggernaut that saw the home side ahead 34-19 after the opening quarter and extend their advantage to 38 points in the third period, before taking their foot off the pedal.  

Often discussed as possible Most Valuable Player candidates, Breakers imports Parker Jackson-Cartwright and Anthony Lamb were held to a combined 20 points and 8/20 shooting, totally outplayed by Sydney counterparts Jaylen Adams and Denzel Valentine, with 62 points from 23/34. 

After an injury-plagued start to their campaign, the Breakers seemed to have turned their fortunes around with the return of American forward Zylan Cheatham and Aussie guard Will McDowell-White, and four consecutive wins.

Since then, they have lost three straight against the competition's top two teams - Perth Wildcats and Melbourne United - and now the two-time defending titleholders.

Mathematically, they are still well in the playoff hunt, but they must put this performance behind them quickly, before hosting South East Melbourne Phoenix on Saturday.

Sydney Kings 105 (Adams 39, Valentine 23, Glover 13) NZ Breakers 76 (Le'afa 15, Gliddon & Jackson-Cartwright 12, McDowell-White 10)