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Breakers suffer third defeat in four games as wretched run continues

The Breakers have fallen to another NBL Cup defeat, this time a 103-89 loss to South East Melbourne Phoenix.

Tom Abercrombie of the Breakers shoots during the NBL Cup match between the New Zealand Breakers and the South East Melbourne Phoenix. Source: Getty

The Phoenix took out all four quarters at Melbourne on Sunday to claim a third win in the space of five days and rise above the Brisbane Bullets and Melbourne United, collecting $100,000 in prizemoney as runner-up to the Perth Wildcats.

Mitch Creek and Kyle Adnam each scored 21 points and Ben Moore made eight of his nine shots to finish on 17, while Ryan Broekhoff played nine minutes in his second NBL appearance before sitting out most of the second half with hamstring soreness.

Coach Simon Mitchell stressed that his squad's final placing on the NBL Cup table was not his primary focus against New Zealand as they also rose to fourth on the NBL competition ladder with a 9-7 record.

"We want to build, we've struggled with our consistency at times during games," said Mitchell after the Phoenix won a third successive game for the first time since making a 3-0 start to their debut season in 2019.

Breakers coach Dan Shamir felt his side benefited from life in the NBL hub despite some key injuries and losses in three of the last four contests.

"The schedule was tough for us missing a few players and with three games in five days, obviously it showed a little bit," Shamir said.

New Zealand's Finn Delany backed up from Friday's career-high 30-point effort with 24 points and six rebounds and Tom Abercrombie added 21.

The Phoenix looked strong early despite five turnovers leading to nine Breakers points as they connected on five of their first six three-point attempts.

Izayah Mauriohooho-Le'afa continued his recent hot form as he drew two offensive fouls from New Zealand danger man Tai Webster and added a pair of triples in his side's 29-23 start.

Moore showed off his deft touch around the hoop and clever play on defence in the second term as the Phoenix lead grew to 11 nearing halftime.

A sloppy finish to the second quarter almost cost the Phoenix a valuable NBL Cup point but Reuben Te Rangi made one of two free throws to close the half with a 53-46 edge.

The Phoenix won the third quarter 25-19 to ensure a top-three NBL Cup finish then went on with the job in the final term.