Perth Wildcats 98
NZ Breakers 93
The Perth Wildcats are hard enough to beat at the best of times but when they get to go to the free throw line 43 times, a difficult assignment becomes much tougher.
The New Zealand Breakers gave it a good crack tonight, taking the Australian NBL leaders to overtime, but ultimately fell short of ending Perth's five-match winning run, losing their third in a row.
The Breakers gave up more than twice as many fouls as the Wildcats and had five players foul out.
The hosts started well at Auckland's Spark Arena, up 26-21 at the first break. But then the Wildcats took control, pulling ahead in the second quarter on the back of a 16-5 run.
The Breakers levelled the scores at 40-40 close to halftime but Perth responded with 10 unanswered points in the minutes either side of the break and maintained that margin to lead 70-60 heading into the final quarter.
The Breakers never led at any point in the second half but chipped away at Perth's lead, which was reduced to four when Corey Webster finally hit his first points of the night. Prior to that three-pointer, Webster looked like drawing a blank for just the second time in 43 games at the venue.
But when Webster and Shawn Long fouled out within seven seconds of each other with seven minutes still remaining, hopes of a comeback look to have faded.
But the Breakers continued to fight and Tai Wesley scored from a lay-up with 30 seconds left to level the scores at 84-84 and take the match to overtime.
Foul trouble then bit deep as Tom Abercrombie, Armani Moore and Wesley were all consigned to the pine in overtime.
The Wildcats went on a 12-1 run to wrap up their third overtime victory of the season, extending their lead at the top of the table to 9-1, while the Breakers drop to 4-6, one win outside the top four.
Breakers coach Kevin Braswell will no doubt look to address his team's discipline, after Perth scored 34 points from the free throw line, compared with just 15 points from 18 attempts for his team.
Having played the top four in their last four games, the schedule gets tougher still for the Breakers, who play in Perth on Sunday at 7pm. There is at least some respite for the Breakers after that, as the NBL takes a break for World Cup qualifiers next week.