Breakers turn up heat

The white-hot New Zealand Breakers meet Perth on Friday in what surely looms as a grand final preview.

League leaders New Zealand (17-3) turned up the heat in the fourth quarter against Wollongong on Saturday to rack up their ninth consecutive win, while the Wildcats (13-4) were pushed to the limit in their 62-59 squeaker over Townsville.

No other teams even look like bothering the top two - certainly not in the regular season and probably not in the play-offs.

Winning streak: Breakers coach Andrej Lemanis is confident ahead of Friday's game. Picture: GETTY

Winning streak: Breakers coach Andrej Lemanis is confident ahead of Friday's game. Picture: GETTY

The Breakers always looked like they could have gone up another gear against the Hawks, even when Wollongong cut a 13-point deficit to two at the end of the third quarter.

In fact, that's exactly what happened, as the visitors quickly put the game out of reach with a devastating 16-1 run to start the final period.

"I don't know if you always think you're in control, but you always have confidence with this group that we're going to play well and find what it takes to give ourselves a chance," Breakers coach Andrej Lemanis said after the win.

"Wollongong made a run. They're a good group and never go away, and we just needed to continue to play a certain way in the fourth quarter.

"We were able to knuckle down at the defensive end and had each other's backs. That's been our trademark this year - when games are on the line we've been good at the defensive end. You don't expect a 16-1 run but I expect us to play well [in the fourth quarter].

"The beauty of this winning streak is that we've gone through lots of different situations and found ways to win.

"That breeds confidence in the group, that no matter what's put in front of us, if we play a certain way we're going to give ourselves our chance. Are we going to win every time? No, but we're going to give ourselves a chance."


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