The New Zealand Breakers better hope they can make the playoffs while Shawn Long is in this type of form, because at this rate, he won’t be around next season.
That’s the double-edged sword held by the Breakers, with Long playing exceptionally to get them back into playoff contention, but playing so well that he is destined for higher honours.
His latest dominant display came in the Breakers’ 97-84 victory over the Perth Wildcats today, pouring in 33 points on just 17 shots.
Long showed his range, knocking down three of four triples, and added six rebounds as he continued to get Most Valuable Player buzz. The 25-year-old’s play has been so impressive of late that the world’s top teams will be taking notice, with even a return to the NBA – where he played 18 games for the Philadelphia 76ers in 2017 – not out of the question.
For now though, the Breakers are the fortunate recipients of his talents, as they storm back into playoff contention, with a recent run saving a season that looked on the brink of a meek conclusion. The win over the Wildcats was their fourth victory in five games, and their first win at Spark Arena since November.
Long became the first Breakers import to get 25 or more points twice in a round, and fellow big man Tai Wesley added 20 points and 10 rebounds as the Breakers overcame another shocking performance from Corey Webster (0 points) to claim the win – snapping a five-game losing streak to Perth.
Perth hoisted the second most three point attempts in their history – 39 – but they received less production inside the paint, as they slumped to their sixth loss in eight games, coming back to a chasing pack which now includes the Breakers.
They now hold an 8-9 record, within touching distance of the top four, with the Brisbane Bullets (10-9) currently holding fourth spot after an upset win over Melbourne United today.