The Breakers entered the NBL for the 2003-2004 NBL season and played their debut 36ers game against our very own 36ers. They won. That wasn't a bad 36ers team either, featuring Brett Maher, Martin Cattalini, Charles Thomas and Mark Nash. Ever since they have haunted us in one way or another.
October 3, 2009 was the last time a 36ers team had a win over New Zealand. That team featured imports Cortez Groves and John Gilchrist plus a bunch of guys still in the league but no longer in Adelaide (Ballinger, Burston, Holmes, Hill). No current player carries a heap of scars caused by the Breakers, although most of the losses last year were heartbreaking in one form or another, this one , being the worst.
Coming into round 4, Adelaide sat at 2-2 and the Breakers at an uncharacteristic 1-3. NBL observers had started to notice a few cracks appearing in one of the best teams the league had seen of the last decade. Management acted swiftly, dumping Darnell Lazare and Jeremiah Trueman and bringing back former 36er killer Gary Wilkinson. Big Red's papers have cleared and he'll be in uniform, although for how much of the game is not known. His return and the axing of 2 players should fire up this proud club alone, let alone the fact it takes on a team it's had no problems handling for the last 4 years.
To break the Breakers hoodoo, Adelaide will need to defend the perimeter a lot better than it did last weekend and create more transition baskets. For a team boasting Ervin, Cadee, Frye, Creek and Johnson, Adelaide has not got as many fast breaks as it would have liked. Big games from Ervin, Gibson and DJ will be required, plus the continued great form of wings Jarrid Frye and Mitch Creek.
This game ends Adelaide's three game road streak, a tough ask going from Adelaide to Cairns to Melbourne to Adelaide to Auckland to Adelaide in just over a week. Then they face Sydney on Sunday.
Wilko's return, New Zealand's strong record against us and the road factor means I have to tip against the boys. It should be a great, close game though this time.
Tip: NZ by 3