NZ Breakers 96
Brisbane Bullets 86
The New Zealand Breakers welcomed back Corey Webster from injury and clinched back-to-back home wins with a 96-85 victory over the Brisbane Bullets tonight.
Webster was player of the game and top-scored for the hosts with 23 points at Auckland's Spark Arena, despite starting on the bench.
He was well supported, with four teammates also reaching double figures: Tom Abercrombie (19), Finn Delany (14), Scotty Hopson (14) and Brandon Ashley (11).
Hopson was also back from injury, playing his first game since October on the same day his injury replacement, Glen Rice Jr, had his contract terminated after breaching his bail conditions.
Webster's efforts were overshadowed by Lamar Patterson's 36 points — the most by a Bullets player in the 100 games since Brisbane's return to the Australian NBL and the equal most by any player this season.
But unlike Webster, Patterson did not get the same level of support, with Jason Cadee (11) and Matt Hodgson (10, plus nine rebounds) the only other Brisbane players to reach double figures.
There was initially little to split the eighth-placed Breakers and seventh-placed Bullets, with the scores level at 17-17 at the first break and 47-47 at halftime.
Abercrombie stepped up with 10 points in the third quarter as the Breakers took a five-point lead into the final quarter.
And then Hopson shone by scoring 12 of his 14 points in the final quarter, helping the hosts to a 96-85 win in front of a crowd of more than 5000.
While the Breakers are 0-6 on the road, tonight's win improves them to 4-3 at home and they will fancy their chances when they next play on Sunday afternoon, taking on the sixth-placed Adelaide 36ers at Spark Arena.
"It's great to be back and great to have the win," said Webster. "We've got our core back and hopefully we can build on that."
Of Patterson's display, Webster said: "He had an amazing game, everyone knows what he can do, but we held everyone else to low scores. We divided the ball and had multiple guys in double figures and that's how we want to play."