NZ Breakers 85
Brisbane Bullets 95
After a fine five-game winning streak to put themselves in playoff contention, back-to-back defeats have suddenly put the Breakers back on the outer in the Aussie NBL.
The Brisbane Bullets recorded just their second win in Auckland in four years in what was dubbed a must-win for both teams yesterday.
The 10-point defeat at Spark Arena leaves the Breakers two wins back from fourth spot with seven games remaining in the regular season, which means they're moving into the dreaded 'need some help from other results' territory.
Lamar Patterson led the Bullets with 18 points, seven rebounds and five assists while Cam Gliddon scored 14 points, 11 points coming in the final quarter as the visitors showed more hunger and awareness how important a win was to their season.
Despite the return of Sek Henry and RJ Hampton, the Breakers had an off shooting night with Tom Abercrombie and Henry, scoring 17 points each, the standouts.
It was always going to be tough with a quick turnaround from Cairns, where the Breakers were defeated 85-79 on Thursday, to play a Bullets side rested all week.
The differing schedules led to a low scoring first quarter where the Breakers held just an 18-15 lead — a worrying sign for the home side given Scotty Hopson was the only Breakers starter to trouble the scorers in the opening quarter.
The Bullets were the first side to wake up, coming out hot in the second stanza with 34 points to take control of the fixture and pull away.
Down 10 at halftime, the Breakers managed to cut the lead to five heading into the final quarter before Gliddon took over for the visitors to seal a commanding victory.
Giving up rebounds has been a big issue this season for the Breakers, they average the worst in the league, and it hurt them again, being outscored 43-31 under the boards.
Suddenly in the space of a few days the Breakers, following South East Melbourn's 90-82 win over the Hawks later on Sunday, have dropped back to second to last with nine wins from 21 games - back to where they were before the five-game winning streak.
"We were on the back foot a little bit and just didn't have that edge to us tonight that we needed," Abercrombie said after the defeat.
"[We were a] Little bit lethargic at times and just couldn't find that second gear that we needed to," he added.
The Breakers' captain added the quick turnaround was hectic but all teams face that during the season and wasn't using it as an excuse.