8 Mar 2014

Breakers go from champs to chumps

9:11 am on 8 March 2014

The New Zealand Breakers' defence of their Australian basketball league title is over, after the Melbourne Tigers came back to upset the champions 97-84 in Auckland.

The game hinged on a huge final quarter from Melbourne at Vector Arena.

Trailing 67-53 after three quarters and appearing dead and buried, the Tigers played like they wanted it more, pouring on an incredible 44 points to 17 - three more points than they scored in the entire first half.

The Breakers started cold, down 8-0 early on and though the Auckland club led 46-41 at half-time and 67-53 heading into the fourth quarter, that incredible hot streak saw the Tigers home - and ended the Breakers' slim playoff hopes.

The Tigers had been on a downward slide, losing their last four games and putting their position in the top four in jeopardy thanks to late season charges from lower-placed teams.

In Friday night's other NBL game, the Perth Wildcats continued their hot title favouritism with an 81-69 win over bottom side the Townsville Crocodiles - though the Wildcats needed overtime to triumph at Perth Arena.

They stay well out in front while Melbourne remain third and the Breakers seventh with a season record of 10 wins and 16 losses.