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Breakers' bench boys save them in Hamilton 03 Oct 2013

Ian Anderson - Waikato Times

Their starting five will want to improve, but the NZ Breakers bench offered promising signs in Hamilton last night.

The three-times reigning Australian National Basketball League champions snatched an 82-81 win over the Dongguan Leopards at Claudelands Arena, with the winning point coming courtesy of a free-throw made by import Kerron Johnson with 1.5 seconds left.

It was an unexpectedly tight finish after the Breakers led 44-34 at halftime, but as veteran forward Mika Vukona pointed out, he and his equally-established team-mates had problems shutting the visitors out.

"They played way better than they did in Taranaki; they made the adjustments and we didn't," Vukona said, referencing the Breakers' 114-93 win in game one of the three-game series in New Plymouth on Sunday night.

"They just attacked us. We had some miscommunications and couldn't get to grips with things.

"The second unit tonight saved us. They did a great job when they came in and really saved the team. They put up a 10-point buffer and everything was looking pretty good and then  when the starting group came out, we gave up that lead.

"But that's  what the Breakers pride ourselves on is that depth, and tonight it showed. We'll have come out and make sure we're crisper in the third game," he said of the series finale in Auckland tomorrow (Thursday) night.

More predictable was how former Sacramento Kings NBA player Donte Greene proved a handful again. After netting 41 points in game one, the power forward contributed 37 in Hamilton, making 5 of 11 three-pointers, including one that put his new team up 79-78 late on.

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