The New Zealand Breakers have gone down 93-88 to the Adelaide 36ers, who continued their hot form in the Australian NBL with an eighth win in a row.
The New Zealand Breakers' bid to finish top qualifiers for the Australian NBL play-offs have been made that much tougher after a 93-88 defeat to the in-form Adelaide 36ers in a nail-biter in Auckland.
The Breakers, with point guard Cedric Jackson completing a third career triple-double, clawed back a double-digit deficit in the final quarter to lead by three points with under a minute to go.
But the 36ers got their free throws to fall as the clock ticked down to stretch their hot streak to eight straight wins.
The Breakers' defeat at Vector Arena on Thursday was their third in their last four matches and leaves them still in second place on an 18-8 record with two matches to go.
But it puts them one win behind leaders Cairns, who also lead the season series between the two clubs.
Corey Webster top-scored for the Breakers with 26 points, while Tom Abercrombie got 15 and Ekene Ebekwe 14.
Jackson finished with 11 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists.
Jamar Wilson bagged 28 points for the fourth-placed 36ers, while Brock Motum contributed 18 points and Daniel Johnson 13.
The Breakers now have the long trip to Perth, where they will face the third-placed defending champions on Sunday, before finishing the regular season with a home showdown against Cairns.