Breakers coach ‘shoulders blame’ for struggle for wins

Mody Maor Coach of the Breakers during the ANBL season
Photo: Photosport

Publicly Breakers coach Mody Maor is taking responsibility for the club’s poor start to the Australian NBL season behind closed doors he’s wanting more from his players.

Maor had seen the hard times and the good times with the Breakers. He was an assistant coach during the 2021/22 wooden spoon season before guiding them to the grand final last season as head coach.

In his second season in the top job the hard times were back.

The Breakers were sitting on two wins from eight games going into Thursday’s clash with the Tasmania JackJumpers in Launceston.

Three days later they will welcome the Illawarra Hawks to Auckland in a bottom-of-the-table match-up with a team that sacked their coach on Tuesday.

While the Hawks lost confidence in coach Jacob Jackomas nine games into his second season, the Breakers head office said Maor was safe.

“I think it’s my job to shoulder the blame and responsibility when things don’t go well,” Maor said of defending a season and a roster that threatened to end closer to 10th than first if the Breakers did not get on a winning run.

“I think my players understand the difference between blame and responsibility, I am responsible for them performing at a high level and together we need to achieve our goals not in a separate way.”

Maor said he treated every game of the season as a “must-win” but admitted to an added “sense of urgency” ahead of the game against the third-placed JackJumpers.

Maor wanted more energy and more effort.

“There’s no such thing as an energy pill. Intensity and effort needs to come from a commitment to doing things the right way…in the process of a season you learn these lessons and I hope this is lesson learnt.”

The Breakers had three players in the top five for points scored per game this season – something Maor saw as sign the team was “close but not there”.

Import guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright lead the league in scoring, newcomer former NBA player Anthony Lamb was third and the injured Zylan Cheatham was fifth.

“The fact that they are doing well from an individual standpoint means that we have tools and that the team is doing some things right that are allowing these tools to flourish.

“But we haven’t been putting complete games together so an individual standout doesn’t mean anything in basketball which is why we love it.”

Maor could also see some positives in a lean run of results.

“One of the best connectors and one of the things that force teams to come together is adversity and we’ve created a fair amount of adversity now.

“I felt some growth and steps forward as a unit during this time I hope we’ll see it on the court. We’re still not where I want us to be as a team as how close we are and how connected we are to each other but I definitely saw steps forward as we go.”

Against the JackJumpers Maor knew what to expect from a settled side that were playing to a familiar formula, whereas the Hawks game would be a test of the unexpected.

“It’s a pretty known thing that in basketball once the coach gets fired the game after the players respond and take ownership on themselves that team lacks nothing in talent, [Tyler] Harvey, [Justin] Robinson and [Gary] Clark and [Sam] Froling this team has a lot of firepower.

“I don’t know the coach [Justin Tatum, NBA player Jayson Tatum’s dad] he’s never coached before so there is no film that I can go and study but he has a week to prepare for us and we’re going to have 24 hours so I am sure in his preparation he is going to have his fingerprints on the things he wants to see.”

By the end of the round the Breakers could have doubled their wins this season – or cemented a spot near the bottom of the points ladder.

“Our record is our record and we don’t shy away from it. Four of those [losses] were one possession games against good teams so there is a lot of things we are doing well but we haven’t been able to put it together yet for a million different reasons we need to take it another step every day.”

The next step is Thursday against the JackJumpers who have won three of their last five games.

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