TODAY |

Breakers keep eyes on finals after buzzer-beater victory

Levi Randolph's last-second runner has given the New Zealand Breakers a heart-stopping 86-84 win over the Perth Wildcats and kept their faint NBL playoff hopes alive.

John Mooney's dunk from Mitch Norton's inbound had allowed the Wildcats to equalise with 4.5 seconds left at Launceston's Silverdome on Saturday night.

But the Breakers called time-out and Randolph executed the set-up play perfectly, attacking Norton and sinking his match-winning shot over Luke Travers with 0.1 seconds remaining.

Randolph (19 points) was well supported by captain Thomas Abercrombie (14) and Tai Webster (12), whose fourth-quarter playmaking was pivotal on his return from injury.

Mooney (25 points, nine boards) comfortably won his battle with rival American centre Colton Iverson, while Todd Blanchfield (21 points) looked sharp for the Wildcats.

Wildcats ace Bryce Cotton (19 points at 33 per cent) had his moments but was held scoreless in the final term thanks to Abercrombie's iron-willed defence.

"Tom did a great job on Bryce again," said Breakers coach Dan Shamir.

"It was a very close, exciting game. It was a great game-winner from Levi.

"As long as there is a chance mathematically (of making the finals), then we should think like that."

After a ragged first few minutes, Shamir called a time-out and had the Breakers humming and up 28-23 at quarter-time.

NZ's lead bumped to eight points before the Wildcats, largely through Blanchfield's assortments of strong keyway drives and neat floaters, moved ahead 47-46 at half-time.

Perth's big three - Cotton, Mooney and Blanchfield scored all 20 of their team's points in the third stanza as the Wildcats led 67-64 at three-quarter-time.

Cotton in particular looked on song, rifling 10 points in five minutes to make hay while Abercrombie sat for a breather, and looked ready to replicate his heroics last month when he broke Breakers' hearts in an overtime classic between the two sides.

But this time Cotton was unable to get off the chain in the fourth as the Breakers eased their way in front and finished there thanks to Randolph.

"I thought we made some big plays, had some big rebounds, had some really good looks and executed well," Perth coach Trevor Gleeson said.

"They just had one extra possession at the end and made a basket."