Finals in sight for Breakers star Hopson

Daniel Gilhooly
Scotty Hopson has played a major part in the Breakers' charge towards an NBL finals berth

New Zealand Breakers star Scotty Hopson likes the symmetry of their final regular season game as they attempt to complete one of the great late surges into the NBL finals.

Having slumped to last place at the midway point of the season, the Breakers can go close to securing fourth place if they beat South East Melbourne Phoenix on Friday.

Their chances will be boosted considerably with a large win over the struggling visitors, who will be without injured Boomers star Mitch Creek.

That would make it nearly impossible for fifth-placed Brisbane to pass them on points differential and very difficult for sixth-placed Melbourne, who must win twice, starting with Cairns on Thursday.

"My parents always told me, growing up as a kid - it ain't how you start, it's how you finish," Hopson told AAP.

"That's the mantra around the season. There's been a lot of ups and downs. Sometimes the lows got really, really low but guys stayed resilient and fought each and every day."

Athletic swingman Hopson has been at the heart of a 10-3 run in the second half of the season, with his height and speed proving a nightmare to contain.

The Kentucky native took on scoring responsibilities in the absence of Corey Webster, who was released mid-season to play in the Chinese League, and RJ Hampton, the injured teenage American prodigy whose minutes dropped away before returning home.

Hopson noted how the Breakers' resurgence began just before Christmas with a win over the Phoenix in Christchurch.

He tallied game-high points (24) and rebounds (nine) that day but said something clicked as a team.

"It's funny we've got the same opponents and the same court because I felt like the last time, it was the turning point for our ball club.

"We had some passages in that game that really were solid. I think we all thought 'we can win some games, we can get back in the hunt'."

Hopson's form is good enough to put himself in the league MVP conversation, although he surprisingly couldn't even win his club's equivalent prize at their awards on Tuesday night.

The 30-year-old said he had no problem watching captain Tom Abercrombie claim the gong.

"Tom's an incredible team-mate to have. Without him, we wouldn't be winning a lot of these games.

"I think he expected me to get it but I'm happy that he did. "The guy's a tremendous competitor."