'We don't really care what anyone else thinks' - Breakers back themselves for NBL semis upset against minor premiers




The Breakers have anointed themselves favourites for their three-legged Australian NBL semi-final against top dogs Melbourne United - and they don't care one jot what others think of it.

Tom Abercrombie.
Sky City Breakers v Cairns Taipans. ANBL Basketball League. Spark Arena, Auckland, New Zealand. Sunday 8 October 2017. © Copyright Photo: Andrew Cornaga / www.photosport.nz

Tom Abercrombie of the New Zealand Breakers.

Source: Photosport

Having finished fourth in the regular ANBL season, the Kiwis will play the first of their three semi-final clashes with Melbourne tonight.

They'll then return for a home semi-final in Auckland on Monday night, before a potential winner-takes-all clash in Melbourne next week.

Rather than remain guarded, Breakers boss Paul Henare came out swinging on Friday, saying he backed, and expected, his team to triumph.

They have a good record against United, winning 10 of their past 13 meet-ups, and have played in eight of the past 11 ANBL finals series.

But they did lose their last two fixtures to Melbourne last month, in matches that were noted for their niggle and finals-level intensity.

"We favour ourselves and don't really care what anyone else thinks," Henare said.

"In a three-game series, you can't give away too many opportunities, so we will do all we can to close it out at home in two.

"We'll rely on the guys that have been around the traps."

The likes of Mika Vukona, Tom Abercrombie and the retiring Kirk Penney have all dominated past finals matches, as has big centre Alex Pledger.

Imports Edgar Sosa and DJ Newbill also bring big-match pedigree.

Henare said his team got back together on Wednesday after the international basketball window, in which the Tall Blacks beat China and South Korea.

They were already looking the business.

"We're getting up for a semi-final and if you can't get ready for that, maybe you're doing the wrong thing - I'm sure that has a lot to do with it," Henare said.

"They are all fantastic, they are fresh, moving around great and the energy and intensity at practice yesterday was outstanding."

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