Lemanis: familiarity adds difficulty
Breakers coach Andrej Lemanis (photosport)
Secrets will be scarce on court when top meets bottom in the Australian NBL in Auckland on Friday night.
The league-leading New Zealand Breakers host the struggling Townsville Crocodiles in what will be already the third meeting between the clubs this season.
Breakers coach Andrej Lemanis says facing the same opponents in quick succession merely adds difficulty to the job of trying to beat them again.
"Both teams will be very familiar with how the other plays," he said.
"That's why it's hard to beat somebody three times in a short space of time, because everybody is out to make adjustments."
The Breakers go in with a 6-1 record this season and on a six-match winning streak.
Townsville are 0-8 and have also lost chief executive Ian Smythe, who resigned this week.
Lemanis said the Breakers wouldn't be distracted by events at the Crocodiles, saying they were focused only on getting out on court and playing well.
The match will be at the larger Vector Arena, rather than at the Breakers' traditional home of the North Shore Events Centre.
The two-time defending champions have a good record at the downtown venue, having won seven of their eight matches there.
Townsville are the only side to trip the Breakers up there - in game one of last season's semifinal - but the Crocs have lost all 10 of their matches in the league since then.
The Breakers, meanwhile, have been building slowly after a sluggish start to their campaign.
While their defence had been solid, Lemanis said he could sense they were beginning to discover their offensive rhythm during back-to-back wins in North Queensland last weekend.
"We started to find some flow and to understand how we play together this year."
Key to the twin victories in Townsville and Cairns was the performance of American point guard Cedric Jackson, who averaged 17.0 points, 11.5 assists, 2.0 steal and 3.5 rebounds over the two matches.