Bullets 88 Breakers 82

After three straight defeats the Breakers' strong start to the season must feel like a distant memory for Paul Henare.

But if the coach is looking for some consolation, the problems that have plagued his club at least seem relatively straightforward to amend.

And that's because, after slumping to a 1-3 record with tonight's loss to the Bullets, the Breakers are all too often appearing like their own worst enemy.

In Thursday night's setback against Sydney, it was turnovers that doomed them to defeat. And tonight in Brisbane, it was fouling, both those they committed and what the Breakers did when they were wronged.


Put simply, in a game that was decided only in the final moments, the Breakers' 10 missed free throws cost them a victory over former coach Andrej Lemanis. Their 47 per cent success rate (nine-of-19) was woefully insufficient, made all the more damaging by Brisbane's mark of 23-of-27 from the stripe.

The Kiwi club's misses combined to undo all the good work they accomplished in recovering a game that had appeared lost. That was exemplified by the outing of Akil Mitchell, the new import grabbing a game-high 20 points but guilty of four miscues from the free throw line.

Mitchell was pivotal in helping the Breakers chip away at a 13-point halftime deficit, having fallen behind due to an incredible foul discrepancy that saw the home side sent to the line on 19 occasions in the half.

That advantage saw Brisbane pour in 50 points in 20 minutes, undoubtedly disappointing Henare after accusing his side's defence of being too soft on Thursday night.

That unit finally applied in the clamps in the third, as the Breakers embarked on an 8-0 run to pull within a possession. But even with Kirk Penney giving his side their first lead since the opening minutes, finishing with 14 points after initially being restricted by foul trouble, Henare still had reason to feel aggrieved as his side's free throw shooting ensured the contest remained in balance heading into the fourth.

The game continued to twist as the clock counted down, with Mitchell thriving on the inside to lift the Breakers within a point after the Bullets had led by eight with three minutes to play.

But there was to be no big finish from the Breakers, having left themselves too much to do and now needing to find fixes for what do appear repairable issues.

Bullets 88 ( T. Craig 17, C. Bairstow 14, D. Kickert 13)
Breakers 82 (A Mitchell 20, K. Penney 14, B. Woodside 14)
Halftime: 50-37