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Third quarter Brazilian blitz sees Tall Blacks lose opening match at World Cup

The Tall Blacks face an uphill battle for the remainder of their World Cup campaign after losing their opening match to Brazil 102-94 overnight in China.

The Tall Blacks were right in the contest and went in to halftime with the score locked at 50-50, but a 28-12 third quarter in favour of the Brazilians proved to be too much for the Kiwi side to claw back.

Corey Webster was leading the team in the first half, including a stellar 15-point second quarter to help even the score.

The star guard's performance saw Brazil up their defensive intensity on Webster, keeping him to just two points in the second half.

It saw Webster finish the match with 19 points on seven-of-19 shooting along with six rebounds and six assists.

Isaac Fotu added 17 points on an impressive six-from-10 shooting performance and netted five rebounds of his own while Shea Ili contributed 16 points and six assists.

Brazil on the other hand were led by 36-year-old NBA veteran Leandro Barbosa who scored a game-high 22 points along with three rebounds and three assists.

Tall Blacks coach Paul Henare said Barbosa and Alex Garcia [14 points, five rebounds] made some "big shots" when it mattered.

"We had an unfortunate third quarter where Brazil got going, they made some shots and we had a few breakdowns and our offence dried up a bit," Henare said.

"For the rest of the game I was extremely proud of the guys and we've got to pick ourselves up, move on and get ready for the next one."

With only two teams making it out of each of the pools, the Tall Blacks now face a tough task of getting out of Group F with Montenegro and Greece still to come.

World No. 28 Montenegro is first up on Tuesday and should the Tall Blacks win there, they will then face eighth-ranked Greece on Thursday and their reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Brazil scores a lay-up against the Tall Blacks as Tai Webster tries to defend. Source: Getty


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