New Zealand Breakers Win NBL Finals Game One

Veteran CJ Bruton stars in NZ's OT win.

Robert Whiteby Robert White

It appears as if we have another epic finals series on our hands. The New Zealand Breakers and the Perth Wildcats, the two dominant teams of the last couple of NBL seasons, are matched up once again in the Finals and the Breakers used an overtime win tonight to steal the series' momentum.

Playing at home at the Vector Arena in Auckland, the Breakers used their 9,125 strong crowd to push them over the top in the extra frame, winning 104-98.

CJ Bruton was brilliant for the Breakers with the game on the line, he scored twice in the final minute and a half, one a three and the other a tough shot inside, and then drew a charge on the defensive end to keep the game out of reach from the visiting Cats.

The Wildcats came back from a 15 point deficit at the half after leading by 12 early on to go ahead by six during the fourth quarter. New Zealand tied the game and had a chance to win it when Cedric Jackson launched a floater before the buzzer that didn’t drop.

The Breakers threw up a ridiculous 33 attempts from three point land but managed to shoot 42 percent from there and were led by 25 points from Jackson. Former Wildcat Bruton had 20 and Daryl Corletto also managed 16.

League scoring leader Kevin Lisch dropped 27 for the cats but shot just 9-23 while big men Matthew Knight and Shawn Redhage combined for 33 points and 10 rebounds.

New Zealand’s NBA prospect Thomas Abercrombie was close to but did not play, obviously not 100 percent right after injuring his ankle in the semis last week.

Game two of the best-of-three series will be played next Friday in Perth.