The Breakers have found another way to lose. They avoided foul trouble, shot a season-best from behind the three-point line and held a 16-point lead over the Perth Wildcats — but somehow they left Australia's west coast with a defeat, probably thinking what more they could have done.
The Auckland side were handed their third straight defeat and seventh of the season as they capped off a forgettable three-day stretch against their rivals and the Australian NBL league leaders.
The Breakers had a hot start, going out to an early 10-0 lead, and continued their dominance over the home side to hold a 48-35 halftime lead. And they did it without giving away too many fouls, crucial after five players were fouled out in Friday's overtime defeat to the Wildcats. But in the second half, the tide started to turn. There wasn't really anything the Breakers did wrong, it's just their opponents did everything right.
The Wildcats, who were without MVP front-runner Bryce Cotton and club great Damian Martin, started to find their rhythm and chipped away at the Breakers' lead. They finally took their first lead of the game with less than three minutes left to record their seventh straight win and move to 10-1.
Nick Kay finished with a game-high 22 points and 12 rebounds, while Terrico White was a main part of the comeback effort with 21 points.
The Breakers had five players who reached double figures, led by 16 points from both Tai Wesley, who scored 10 in the first quarter, and Armani Moore, while they recorded a season-high 15 three-pointers. Still not enough.
"We got a bit of a spray at halftime and rightfully so. That just wasn't us defensively, so obviously we were much better in the second half," Wildcats forward Jesse Wagstaff said after the win.
The Breakers will have plenty of time to reflect on the flight home how they threw away a chance to beat the Wildcats in Perth, the hardest task in the league. It doesn't get much easier, however. After a break for World Cup qualifiers this week, they host the Sydney Kings in two weeks, a side that has beaten them twice this season by a combined 36 points.