Consecutive losses to the Adelaide 36ers have failed to deter the New Zealand Breakers from sticking to their tried-and-true for Friday's Australian NBL rematch, coach Paul Henare says.
Tom Abercrombie of the New Zealand Breakers.
The Breakers have fallen twice to the 36ers this month, with a 95-92 defeat in Adelaide followed up by a 90-75 humbling at home.
Following the latter loss, Henare chewed out his players for what he labelled a "soft" final quarter - but felt they were back on track ahead of Friday's game.
They've since secured an encouraging 98-95 win over the Sydney Kings, reclaiming top spot in the ANBL, and had time to polish their game.
Henare expected a much-improved showing from his troops, who have lost four matches from six after their early-season winning run of nine games.
"Calling out guys isn't (sending) a message, it's just making a point - and these guys are quite highly motivated themselves anyway," Henare said.
"They responded well with a good performance on the road against Sydney, and now we look to shift focus again.
"The last time we played (Adelaide), we played three quarters of really good basketball and couldn't close the game out - that's one reason why I know the guys are really looking forward to this one."
With Round 11 done and dusted, first place on the ANBL ladder appears a three-horse race between Henare's Breakers, the Perth Wildcats and Melbourne United.
Yet if Henare saw it that way, he kept it to himself.
"We're not really focused on placings - just trying to focus on playing good basketball and we feel we're starting to make a bit of progress," Henare said.