Breakers comeback falls just short as 36ers claim thrilling NBL victory

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NZN

Adelaide survived a massive late scare to cling on to a thrilling 88-85 NBL victory over the New Zealand Breakers on Friday night.

Tom Abercrombie.
Sky City Breakers v Cairns Taipans. ANBL Basketball League. Spark Arena, Auckland, New Zealand. Sunday 8 October 2017. © Copyright Photo: Andrew Cornaga / www.photosport.nz

Tom Abercrombie of the New Zealand Breakers.

Source: Photosport

Ahead most of the evening, the 36ers' 13-point third-quarter lead vanished in the fourth quarter as the Breakers stole the momentum and drew level.

Nathan Sobey drilled a pull-up three before, fittingly, Shannon Shorter (23 points, eight rebounds, five assists) iced the win.

Firstly Shorter made a lay-up with nine seconds remaining on the back of a pivotal steal from fellow import Josh Childress (17 points) and then he sunk a pair of free throws with three seconds left.

Edgar Sosa, who was easily the Breakers' best with 24 points, nailed a consolation three on the bell.

Sosa had single-handedly kept the Kiwi team in the game early before a swag of outside misses from the visitors and nine unanswered Adelaide points allowed the home side to forge ahead 25-17 at quarter-time.

Seemingly back to their pressing, harassing defensive best, the Sixers extended their advantage to 49-38 at halftime behind Childress and Mitch Creek.

The 36ers staggered offensively early in the third before Shorter, in a timely return to his early-season form, got rolling and guided Adelaide back out by 12.

But with Sosa on song, the Breakers pegged the gap back to 68-61 at three- quarter-time - and they weren't done.

NZ continued to make further inroads in the fourth, tying the game up.

The Sixers looked vulnerable but they mounted one last charge, executing impressively in the clutch and notching their third win over the ladder-leading Breakers in the space of three weeks.

The 36ers' high-octane first half was precisely the response coach Joey Wright desired after last week's disappointing loss to Cairns.

"That's exactly what we wanted," he said.

"We started off with high energy - that sets the tempo for the game.

"I was happy our guys stepped up and got it together."

The Breakers' ragged early showing had coach Paul Henare searching for answers.

"I'm wondering when we're going to start playing right from the start of the game instead of leaving it too late," he said.

"Our mindset was in the wrong place.

"They were getting fast breaks and pushing it down our throats off the deadball. That's a worrying sign."

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