Basketball: NZ Breakers coach Mody Maor takes aim at points-differential countback after overwhelming South East Melbourne

Despite a welcome and overwhelming victory, NZ Breakers coach Mody Maor isn't overly comfortable about the need to run up a score against his opponents, as playoff hopes hang by a thread.

After suffering a devastating 29-point defeat to champions Sydney Kings just days earlier, the Auckland team bounced back in the best possible fashion with a resounding 106-75 home victory over bottom-of-the-table South East Melbourne Phoenix.

The result leaves the Breakers still two wins out of a top-six finish and qualification for the post-season, but Maor is keenly aware that they may end up relying on a points-differential countback, if they are to sneak through.

Mody Maor urges the Breakers on against South East Melbourne.
Mody Maor urges the Breakers on against South East Melbourne. Photo credit: Photosport

Well clear over the dying minutes against the Phoenix, he chose not to clear his bench, but kept his foot on the throttle in an attempt to make up lost ground on their rivals.

"To be honest, I don't like it," said Maor. "This is the way the system is, so we have to play this way, but I really prefer the last few minutes to be an opportunity for the younger players to hit the court and play.

"The difference between winning by 23 and 31 shouldn't be what dictates whether you make the playoffs or not, but we've been on the shortend of that stick and this is how the system is, so that's something we play for.

"It's something we know and we're going to play every possession."

Running up a score and embarrassing well-beaten opponents does not go down well in basketball. NBA games have threatened fisticuffs over bench players continuing to hoist three-pointers, instead of tamely dribbling out the clock.

Points differential became a burning issue during the newly introduced In-Season Tournament, when teams felt obliged to rub salt into the wounds of their rivals during poolplay.

Closer to home, Maor was assistant coach under Dan Shamir, when the Breakers finished in a threeway tie for fourth on the ANBL ladder, but finished sixth on points differential and missed a semi-final spot.

Last season, the Auckland outfit benefitted from the countback, edging Cairns Taipans for second on the table and automatic home semi-final advantage. Incredibly, their 18-10 record included six victories of 24 points or more, highlighted by a 37-point win over Brisbane Bullets.

Meanwhile, Melbourne United - tabletoppers this year - missed the 2023 post-season by 0.06 percent differential.