The New Zealand Breakers are thanking the unshakeable confidence of Corey Webster for keeping them in the NBL final series against the Perth Wildcats.
Now they want much better from him in the game three decider on Sunday.
Webster drained a three-pointer in the closing stages to help the Breakers clinch game two 72-68 in Auckland on Friday, ending a night the prolific shooting guard would otherwise prefer to forget.
Before his clutch shot, Webster had sunk an uninspired 2-from-12 from the field as his side struggled to cope with a stifling Perth defence.
Captain Mika Vukona says he never lost faith in his chief marksman.
“That’s what shooters do, they have no conscience,” Vukona said.
“He’s going to get on fire soon. With guys like him, you’ve just got to keep feeding the ball and hope they make it.”
The Breakers will want Webster to ignite in what shapes as another defensive arm-wrestle to decide the title in Perth. The Wildcats won game one there 82-76 on Wednesday.
It will be the last game for coach Dean Vickerman, who wants nothing more than to end a nine-year association with the club by orchestrating their fifth title in six seasons.
He suspects victory will come down to a couple of key plays, believing it is unlikely either team will get a points jump on the other.
“How did we win this one? A couple of big shots at the end. A crazy finish to the game,” Vickerman said.
Vukona noted both games were won by the team whose big men held sway under the basket. Limiting the supply to Wildcats centre Nathan Jawai was a key in Auckland, rather than any spectacular offence.
“This was do-or-die which caused some of the ugliness, but we really wanted this,” he said.
Vukona made no apologies for the lack of spectacle in the two games between rivals who know each other’s game intimately.
He says another Auckland-Perth commute and the 48-hour turnaround between tip-offs will make the decider as much about desire as skill.