NZ Breakers' see-saw start to the new ANBL season has continued, falling to a 69-65 defeat to Illawarra Hawks at Spark Arena.
Days after taking their first away win of the season in Tasmania, the Breakers couldn't convert that into a victory on home court, beaten narrowly by the league's bottom-placed team.
After losing guard Will McDowell-White to injury, defeat also leaves them waiting to record consecutive wins so far this campaign, with all three of their victories followed by defeats.
Despite the result, the Breakers remain ahead of the Hawks on the ladder, courtesy of points differential, with both teams winning three and losing seven of their first 10 matches.
Imports Parker Jackson-Cartwright and Anthony Lamb both had strong showings in a Breakers singlet, with 20 points apiece, but after that, only Cameron Gliddon scored in double figures with 10.
While the Hawks had no-one score more than 16, the collective effort was more than the Breakers could handle.
Captain Sam Frolling led the way with a double-double (16 points, 12 rebounds) and guard Tyler Harvey added 16, along with 13 from Gary Clark.
Trailing 19-12 after the first quarter, the Breakers rallied to take the second 23-17 to close the gap to just a point at halftime, down 36-35.
While they managed to stay in touch with the Hawks, down 53-51 heading into the final quarter, a pair of Clark free throws ended any hopes, extending the lead to four points with only seconds left on the clock.
The Breakers' bid to climb the ANBL ladder will continue on Thursday, when they host Adelaide 36ers at the same venue.
NZ Breakers 65 (Jackson-Cartwright 20, Lamb 20)
Illawarra Hawks 69 (Frolling 16, Harvey 16, Clark 13)2023-11-19T05:22:12Z dg43tfdfdgfd