Basketball: Coach Mody Maor praises NZ Breakers resilience in gutsy Australian NBL playoffs upset over Sydney Kings

Coach Mody Maor is hailing NZ Breakers' toughness and mental resilience in overcoming injuries and foul trouble to advance to the next round of the Australian NBL playoffs. 

The Breakers made amends for last year's Grand Final loss to the Sydney Kings with a 83-76 victory in Wednesday's play-in qualifier

Parker Jackson-Cartwright showed just what victory meant to the Breakers. 

After a match-high 34 points - the highest by a Breaker in three years - it was the commentary team Jackson-Cartwright was keen to prove a point to, after being listed seventh in their MVP rankings. 

"I'm a competitor, and I hear the talk and I just let it motivate me," Jackson-Cartwright said.

If it produces another display like they got out of Jackson-Cartwright in Sydney, the Breakers wouldn't mind some more talk. 

The American import led a performance of grit against the defending champions and, despite trailing by nine points at the break, Maor's confidence never wavered.

"Once I walked into that locker room at halftime, I knew we were winning the game because there was no sign of anything but determination and being focused on the task," he added. 

That determination was evident throughout the Breakers. 

Mantas Rubštavičius fouled out while Zylan Cheatham had to be carried off late in the second quarter with an ankle injury.

His return to play, though, was apparently never in doubt. 

"I didn't want to play him in the second half and he wouldn't listen to me," Maor recalled.  

"When I asked him if he could play, he pushed me off and walked away." 

Cheatham will be a key cog for the Breakers once again on Monday, as they look to account for the Illawarra Hawks on the way to a semi-final series with Melbourne. 

"We came here in the playoffs last year and won game one and then we didn't play well in game two, so if I take anything it's the lesson for how we come in and perform in the next game," Maor said.