New Zealand Breakers 90
Brisbane Bullets 82
The New Zealand Breakers have overcome another test, dodging a barrage of Bullets to tally their ninth successive Australian National Basketball League victory.
In a week where the club revealed an impending ownership change, they showed they still owned their home court, making it 42 straight days without defeat - a stretch which will extend due to the upcoming international break.
They will go into that break with a significant lead atop the ANBL ladder, sitting with a 9-1 record, and their ninth win presented another obstacle which was duly dealt with.
A 90-82 victory required their biggest comeback of the season, coming from nine points down in the third quarter to eventually find their offensive groove and pull away.
The Breakers rarely do it easily. Of late, every game has been a grind; coming down to the final minutes, and this afternoon was no different.
However, this was the first time they had to come back from a significant deficit, and the speed at which they roared back showed a sign of a team well equipped to deal with all sorts of potential adversity.
It wasn't entirely champagne basketball, not that it will be a concern to the Breakers coaching staff. The early moments were particularly punishing, with the Bullets throwing alley-oops into the crowd, while it took nine minutes for a Breaker to score more than two points.
Neither team was hitting threes, and turnovers were the early currency of choice, but that signified a brighter spell of basketball to come.
It was a tight first half - a staple of Breakers basketball, it seems - with the biggest lead for either side just four points, and the Breakers up just 35-34 at half-time.
The Breakers imports - DJ Newbill and Edgar Sosa - started to grow into the contest, but the Bullets were solid on the glass, and scoring inside when presented the opportunity.
It was their Australian big men doing damage, with Tom Jervis (16 points, seven rebounds) converting inside, and the soft touch of Daniel Kickert (14 points, 13 rebounds) providing problems for the Breakers' bigs.
They started to get support from their imports, with Travis Trice sparking to life, and Perrin Buford throwing down some thunderous dunks as the Bullets built their nine point buffer.
Just as the Bullets started flying, the Breakers found their rhythm. Rob Loe converted a four-point play, while Newbill hit back-to-back threes and jammed home a dunk of his own to rapidly level the scores.
All of a sudden, the Breakers had the ascendancy, and they weren't slowing down. As Sosa (24 points) and Newbill (19) kept things ticking over, the hosts once again turned things over to their closer, Shea Ili.
Ili continued to show why he's the Breakers' future starting point guard, stepping up with 14 points in the final quarter, running the show as the Bullets drifted away.
Breakers coach Paul Henare pointed to Ili as an example of the Breakers' belief in their three-point shooters, who hit 13 of 29 (44.8 per cent) from deep.
"He came in and kept that confidence. The shots weren't dropping in the first half but the message to the guys is if it's a good shot for you, just keep taking it."
The Breakers did just that, and while the Bullets kept firing until the end, they couldn't hit the target as the Breakers sealed yet another win.
Breakers 90 (Sosa 24, Newbill 19, Ili 16)
Bullets 82 (Trice 18, Buford 17, Jervis 16)