Their big guns may have failed to fire but it did not stop Brisbane Bullets shooting down New Zealand Breakers 88-67 in their NBL clash on Saturday.
Big man Harry Froling stood tall at Nissan Arena, relishing a return to the starting five with 20 points after scoring machines Nathan Sobey (12pts, 5-10 field goal shooting) and import Vic Law (seven pts, 2-14) had a rare quiet night for the hosts.
Sobey was averaging 24.3 points per game after dropping a career-high 35 in the last round against Sydney Kings.
Law had been just as dangerous, helping Brisbane (94.3 points per game) emerge as the NBL’s highest-scoring team.
However someone else had to step up on Saturday after Sobey copped a knock to his hand in the second term to only have five points by the end of the third quarter while an out-of-sorts Law had just seven.
Enter Froling, who combined with bench weapons Anthony Drmic and Matt Hodgson (both 16 points) to inspire Brisbane’s biggest win of the season.
The Bullets appeared vulnerable against the Breakers after Sobey, veteran Jason Cadee and Tamuri Wigness battled illness during the week.
While all three took to the court on Saturday the Bullets were still left a man short following the mid-week release of underperforming import Orlando Johnson.
Brisbane filled Johnson’s vacancy by welcoming back Breakers star and ex-Bullet Lamar Patterson but are unsure when he will be available as he battles back from a knee injury.
However, Froling’s heroics helped fifth-placed Brisbane (9-7 record) ice their sixth win in eight games.
The second-last Breakers (4-10) suffered their biggest loss of the season and fourth defeat in five games.
Brisbane led 21-19 at the first break and 44-39 by halftime before outscoring the visitors 20-9 in the third.
The Breakers shot just 2-19 from the field and 0-9 from three-point range in the third quarter as Brisbane led 64-48 at the final interval.
New Zealand were already on the back foot with Patterson leaving, fellow star Corey Webster injured and Rob Loe returning home for personal reasons after the Breakers had been on the road for the last four months.
Their luck didn’t change on Saturday with big man Colton Iverson getting into early foul trouble and Finn Delany (12 points, nine rebounds) finishing the game with his head bandaged after coming off second best in several physical clashes.
Breakers guard Tai Webster was again their shining light with 19 points.