The New Zealand Breakers were ousted from the ANBL playoffs on Monday night, falling in overtime 88-86 to Melbourne United.
Melbourne’s Josh Boone sealed the victory with a buzzer beating layup, silencing the Auckland crowd and sending them through to the Grand Final.
Boone was a dominant force all night long, compiling 33 points, 15 rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks in 33 minutes of work. He was able to get whatever he wanted down low, shooting an impressive 14-of-19 on the night.
Boone’s toughness and defensive ability made life difficult for the Breakers in the paint, restricting them to 36 percent shooting on two-point attempts.
New Zealand did an admirable job on Melbourne’s other top players, holding the combination of Chris Goulding, Casper Ware and Casey Prather to just 12-of-43 shooting from the field.
However, it was the Breakers’ own offensive struggles that held them back. They shot a sub-par 39 percent from the field and were hounded defensively all night long. Thomas Abercrombie failing to score in his 33 minutes of play, shooting a measly 0-of-9.
Rob Loe (19 points) and D.J. Newbill (19 points) both put forth their best efforts but it just wasn’t enough.
On an otherwise sour night for the Breakers, there was one positive that can be found. Kirk Penney concluded his storied career with a fantastic performance, posting 21 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field and 3-of-5 from three.
Penney turned back the clock despite some tough defence by Goudling, giving the Breakers every chance to win the game but he just couldn’t get them across the line.
Melbourne now await their Grand Final opponent. The Adelaide 36ers currently lead the series 1-0 over the Perth Wildcats who are set to do battle again on Friday night.