Lamar Patterson of the Brisbane Bullets at the net.
Lamar Patterson of the Brisbane Bullets at the net.

Bullets in charge of destiny despite loss

Brisbane coach Andrej Lemanis says the Bullets still control their NBL finals destiny after suffering a 109-96 loss to New Zealand in Auckland on Sunday.

Brisbane's grip on fourth spot on the ladder has become tenuous with the loss to the run-and-gun Breakers following hot on the heels of the defeat at the hands of the Andrew Bogut-inspired Sydney at Boondall on Friday night.

The Bullets (12-11) have the same win-loss record as the fifth-placed Adelaide who host Melbourne on Monday with Illawarra (11-12) lurking with intent in sixth spot as the race for the last place in the top four intensifies.

Brisbane's next two matches are against the Sydney Kings this Friday and Sunday in a double-header that could define their campaign.

Lemanis said it had been a "dogfight" in the NBL all season so nothing would change in the run home to the finals.

"The league is that close. Who knows what happens,'' Lemanis said.

"If it keeps going the way it has been with people knocking each other off then yes, it will come down to that (last round).

"Everyone's destiny is in their own hands which is a fun place to be.''

Lemanis said Brisbane will relish the chance to take on Sydney again and would take heart from their back-to-back wins over reigning champion Melbourne in December.

"We have good confidence in ourselves as a group that if we come out and do the things we want to do as a team, we give ourselves a good opportunity to be successful,'' he said.

Brisbane lacked the defensive intensity to contain the Breakers as New Zealand led at every change to keep their slim finals aspirations flickering.

After the Bullets got the first two buckets of the match, New Zealand went on a 12-0 run that set the tone for the rest of the match.


Lamar Patterson of the Bullets drives to the hoop.
Lamar Patterson of the Bullets drives to the hoop.


Brisbane hit the lead briefly in the third quarter but were unable to stem the relentless offensive onslaught from New Zealand.

In a match-turning twist, Bullets star Lamar Patterson fouled out of the match late in the third term after being called for a technical foul straight after being called for charge.

Without their money man, Brisbane struggled to keep pace with the Breakers who kicked clear late in the fourth quarter.

Bullets power forward Mika Vukona knocked knees with Breakers centre Shawn Long in the last quarter and took no further part in the match. His condition will be monitored closely.

Patterson had 18 points, five rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block when he fouled out. Cam Gliddon added 16 points for Brisbane while centre Matt Hodgson had 14 points and seven boards.

Long was the star for the Breakers with 23 points, six rebounds, three steals, two blocks and two assists.