NZ Breakers remain alive in the Australian NBL playoff race, after the Sydney Kings suffered a crushing 101-74 loss to the Perth Wildcats at Perth Arena.
The Kings needed to win to keep their finals hopes alive, but they couldn't contain, nor match the scoring power of the reigning premiers.
Perth import Casey Prather scored a game-high 29 points, while Bryce Cotton finished with 21 and both were put on ice when the result was beyond doubt.
It was quite the collapse for the Kings who had won eight of their first 12 games, before losing eight of their last 12.
Although they trailed by 14 at the main break, Sydney appeared to be right in the contest early. Guard Jason Cadee had 15 points for the half, with 11 of those in the opening term, but he was kept scoreless after halftime.
American Greg Whittington scored 11 points in the opening half and was also having a presence on the boards, and Sydney started the second half well to close the margin to six.
But two separate technical fouls against Whittington in less than a minute late in the third term put an end to Sydney's challenge and their season. Cotton dropped both resultant free-throws to take the margin back to 10 points and Prather dunked for two with the inbound ball on the second foul, to make it 12.
Those fouls also gave Whittington his fifth foul for the game and there was still more than three minutes to go in the third term.
When Prather dropped his 21st point less than a minute later, it was the first time he'd made it past 20 since Round 15 and only the first time since Cotton joined the club in Round 14.
The win puts the Wildcats level with the Illawarra Hawks and Cairns Taipans on 14 wins/13 losses, with all still having one game left to play.
The Breakers have completed their schedule with a 14-14 record, but hold countback advantage over Perth and Melburne United, who can also finish 14-14 with a win over Perth later in the weekend.
Illawarra host Brisbane Bullets and Cairns travel to Adelaide.
Wildcats coach Trevor Gleeson said it was probably the best his side had played this season.
"We were aggressive. We didn't start that well, but I thought we had the tempo right for most of the game.
"We were aggressive at the hole, sharing the ball and playing good defence," Gleeson said. "I thought our court awareness was good, as to who was hot and who needed special attention."
Sydney coach Andrew Gaze said the team was extremely disappointed with the way their season finished.
"We felt we had prepared really well for this game, with an opportunity to play in the playoffs," he said. "We came up against a team that was well-prepared and shot the ball well.
"They had great intensity, great passion,. Their season on the line as well and they came up with a very good win."