The New Zealand Breakers have consolidated their position at the top of the Australian NBL ladder with a 90-82 win over Brisbane in Auckland today.
Just two days after losing to Perth 90-85, the Bullets pushed the Breakers for three-quarters of the match, but faded in the final spell as the top-of-the-table Kiwis racked up their ninth straight win of the season.
Point guard Edgar Sosa led all scorers, amassing 24 points which included four three-pointers, receiving solid support from DJ Newbill (19) and Shea Ili (16).
For Brisbane, Travis Trice led the way with 18, with Perrin Buford (17) and Tom Jervis (16) close behind.
But it was the strength of the Breakers bench which again proved key, bringing in 32 points to Brisbane's seven.
The Breakers were unconvincing early on in a low-scoring first half, a strong rebounding effort from Brisbane laying the foundation for a 16-16 scoreline at the first break.
The second quarter was a similar story, the Breakers taking a 35-34 lead into halftime as they struggled without sharpshooter Kirk Penney, rested as a precautionary measure after twinging his back.
Brisbane kicked on in the third quarter, opening out a nine-point lead five minutes out from the final break.
But with Rob Loe and Newbill running hot from beyond the paint, the Breakers battled back to narrow Brisbane's lead to 55-53 less than two minutes out from the final break.
Newbill was everywhere, whether it was dunking to level the scores from a steal, sinking free throws, or providing the assist for a Finn Delany trey as the Breakers hit their straps in the final 60 seconds of the third quarter.
They finished the spell on a Tom Abercrombie lay-up to take a 61-58 lead into the final stanza.
Back-to-back three-pointers from Ili extended the Breakers to a seven-point lead two minutes after the restart, with the Kiwis efficient in protecting that lead right to the final buzzer.