Bullets shoot down Breakers in NBL

·2-min read

Their big guns failed to fire but it could not stop an illness-hit Brisbane Bullets shooting down New Zealand Breakers 88-67 in their NBL clash.

Big man Harry Froling stood tall at Nissan Arena, relishing a return to the starting five with 20 points after scoring machines Nathan Sobey (12pts, 5-10 field goal shooting) and import Vic Law (seven pts, 2-14) had a rare quiet night on Saturday.

Sobey was averaging 24.3 points per game after dropping a career-high 35 in the last round. Law had been just as dangerous, helping Brisbane (94.3 points per game) emerge as the NBL's highest scoring team.

However, someone else had to step up after Sobey was one of five Bullets hit by illness which swept through their camp this week.

Sobey also copped a knock to his hand in the second term to only have five points by the end of the third quarter.

But Froling combined with bench weapons Anthony Drmic and Matt Hodgson (both 16 points) to inspire Brisbane's biggest win of the season.

"It was a war of attrition. We had illness through the camp yesterday, had five guys miss practice but all came back negative (in COVID-19 tests)," Bullets coach Andrej Lemanis said.

"We had plenty of excuses but we gave the energy required to get over the line."

While every illness-hit Bullets player suited up on Saturday, they were still left a man short following the midweek release of underperforming import Orlando Johnson.

Brisbane filled Johnson's vacancy by welcoming back Breakers star and ex-Bullet Lamar Patterson but are unsure when he will be available as he battles back from a knee injury.

However, Froling's heroics helped fifth-placed Brisbane (9-7 record) ice their sixth win in eight games.

The second-last Breakers (4-10) suffered their biggest loss of the season and fourth defeat in five games.

Brisbane led 21-19 at the first break and 44-39 by halftime before outscoring the visitors 20-9 in the third.

The Breakers shot just 2-19 from the field and 0-9 from three point range in the third quarter.

A depleted New Zealand were already on the back foot with Patterson leaving, fellow star Corey Webster injured and Rob Loe returning home for personal reasons.

Their luck didn't change with big man Colton Iverson getting into early foul trouble and Finn Delany (12 points, nine rebounds) finishing the game with his head bandaged after coming off second best in several physical clashes.

Breakers guard Tai Webster was again their shining light with 19 points.

"We didn't make shots today. We have to play better and we can," said Breakers coach Dan Shamir, who hopes to play new signings Levi Randolph and William McDowell-White in the coming weeks.