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NBL's Breakers have edge on semi opponent

NEW Zealand rested star guard Corey Webster and gained a slight psychological advantage for the NBL playoffs with its second victory over Melbourne United in three days.

The 70-69 win in Melbourne followed a 33-point victory in Auckland on Thursday night. The team will meet again in the Victorian capital this Thursday night in a semi-final, with United needing to step up on the boards after losing that battle 48-32 yesterday.

The Breakers also scored 34 of their points inside the paint compared to 14 by United, who rely heavily on their long-range shooting.

In Webster's absence, import Tai Wesley (pictured) stepped up with 23 points and five rebounds.

Breakers coach Dean Vickerman said Melbourne held no fears for his players.

"We've built some (play-off) momentum with four wins and we didn't want to come here today and lose any of that," Vickerman said.

"We've built this team on rebounding and defence while a lot of the others have built their teams on offence."

"If we can play that kind of grinding defence. We will always give ourselves a chance to win."

The other semi-final will be played between the Wildcats and Illawarra in Perth on Friday night - with the Wildcats holding a 4-0 record against the Hawks this season.

While Illawarra has found winning in the west very difficult, coach Brian Beveridge said with the team's best roster back together again, it could beat any team, anywhere.

- APN SPORTS BUREAU


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