Import Lamar Patterson has regained his mojo to help inspire New Zealand Breakers’ maiden win of the 2021 NBL season, a come from behind 85-79 victory over Cairns Taipans.
Former Brisbane Bullets star Patterson dominated the second half as the Breakers overcame a 12-point deficit at Cairns Pop-Up Arena to relegate the Taipans to their sixth straight loss.
Two-time All-NBL First Team pick Patterson had struggled at the Breakers since relocating from Brisbane this season, starting on the bench on Saturday after coming off his first scoreless NBL game.
Patterson still had plenty of rust to shed by halftime when he only had four points to his name yet came alive in the second stanza just when the Breakers needed him.
Patterson finished with 22 points and five rebounds, picking up where livewire guard Tai Webster (25 points, 11 rebounds, five assists) left off in the first half to help the Breakers (1-2 record) move off the bottom of the table.
The Taipans (1-6) are the new cellar dwellers after letting a double-digit lead slip for the second straight game.
The Breakers hit the ground running in their first game in 10 days with Webster dropping 18 points in the first half in an intriguing battle with Taipans point guard Scotty Machado (25 points, 12 assists, six rebounds).
Indeed Machado looked all but certain to steer the Taipans to a drought breaking win with the hosts up 71-63 with just six minutes left on the clock.
But Patterson found another gear as the visitors outscored the hosts 26-13 in the fourth term.
“I am happy he had a good game and made some big plays down the stretch,” Breakers coach Dan Shamir said of Patterson.
“As we know he is a work in progress. It is not easy to jump back into this intensity.
“But to give that type of production and give us a win I am happy.”
Taipans coach Mike Kelly said Patterson had given him plenty of food for thought before their rematch against the Breakers in Cairns on Monday night.
“It is really frustrating. We didn’t get on top of him, we didn’t stop his rhythm and he made some shots and got to the foul line,” he said.
“We need to do a better job at that on Monday.”
Webster’s opening onslaught helped the Breakers lead 25-20 at the first break before the hosts enjoyed a 44-41 halftime buffer, blowing it out to a 12-point lead before settling for a 66-59 advantage at the final interval.