The Tall Blacks have unfurled one of their most comprehensive performances in recent years to upset China 82-73 in a World Cup qualifying game in Dongguan.
A huge finish propelled New Zealand to victory after they trailed by a point at halftime and then 58-55 heading into the final quarter.
A New Zealand team led by 18 points each from brothers Corey and Tai Webster then dominated the final stanza as the home side stuttered courtesy of a growing personal foul count.
New Zealand move to the top of the standings at the halfway point in the group A schedule, sharing the same two wins-one loss record as China and South Korea but boasting a superior differential.
They will seek a performance of similar quality in Seoul on Monday when they face South Korea, who notched their second victory 93-72 over winless Hong Kong.
The 30th-ranked Tall Blacks went toe-to-toe with world No.24 China, casting aside the absence of experienced NZ Breakers forwards Mika Vukona and Tom Abercrombie.
While the Chinese relied primarily on NBA veteran Jianlian Yi (37) and Peng Zhou (17) for their offence, the visitors shared the workload around.
Coach Paul Henare said the Tall Blacks had executed their game plan almost perfectly.
"Our aim was to play pressure defence for the full 40 minutes and I thought at times we did that superbly," he said.
"One of the keys was the rotation of players, with everyone coming in and contributing while they were on the floor. The final quarter though, we got some great stops and they crumbled under that pressure. I am immensely proud of the boys. That is a great win in the Tall Blacks singlet."
The Webster brothers posted nearly identical statistics with the exception of Tai's four-of-six from outside the three-point line.
Long-range shooting was a key New Zealand advantage, shooting 8 of 15 shots compared to China's 6 off 22.
Alex Pledger (11 points) and Isaac Fotu (eight) held their own against bigger bodies in the pain while guard Shea Ili scored 10 points and made four steals.
Henare always felt his young team were in control despite the game's tight nature.
"I knew we would wear them down, our sustained pressure was too much for them," he said.
"That showed in the final minutes when we continued with high energy on defence and made good plays with the ball. We saw it at the Asia Cup and that is the level that this team has to maintain."
Henare has respect for the 35th-ranked South Koreans, who upset his team 86-80 when they met in the group opener in November in Wellington.