NZ Breakers 96
Adelaide 36ers 99
The New Zealand Breakers' hopes of getting back into the ANBL playoff hunt took another hit yesterday following a thrilling 99-96 home defeat to the Adelaide 36ers.
The Auckland-based side, without Corey Webster, showed plenty of fight to comeback from a 20-point deficit in the first half to take the lead in the final quarter.
However, 36ers import Jerome Randle decided the contest with a three pointer with 2.3 seconds left. Breakers import Scotty Hopson missed a chance to send the game to overtime when his three-point attempt at the buzzer fell short.
If the Breakers wanted to prove to themselves and their fans that they shouldn't be ruled out of the post season despite sitting second to last, a win over the fourth placed 36ers would have been perfect. However they seem destined to remain near the bottom end of the table after failing to hold home court for the third time this season, falling to a 4-10 record for the season.
Breakers skipper Tom Abercrombie led the way for the home team with 20 points, 17 coming in the first half, and nine rebounds while Sek Henry returned from injury to score 20 points including a vital field goal that tied the game up late before Randle's closing dagger.
Randle was superb yet again for Adelaide, top scoring with 29 points while Daniel Johnson was almost unstoppable at times under the hoop scoring 26 points to go with six rebounds.
Adelaide come out fast with 35 points in the first quarter to take a 12-point lead into the first break. Midway through the second quarter it seemed the Breakers were in the Christmas spirit offering to giftwrap the win for the 36ers as they stretched it out to 54-34, their biggest lead of the game. Abercrombie scored six straight points to get his side back in the game as they were able to get the deficit down to 10 points at the break.
Eight minutes later the Breakers tied the game up at 74 in a remarkable turn of form to set up a shootout between the two sides in the final quarter. The 36ers seemed to hold their nerve in the fourth with Randle and Johnson stepping up to score the majority of their points in the closing quarter to earn Adelaide's second win over the Breakers this season.
The Breakers host the Phoenix in Christchurch on Friday before a five-game road stretch which doesn't see them return home until January 12.