<
>

Patterson stars as Bullets fall short against Breakers

Lamar Patterson's hot hand wasn't enough to help the Brisbane Bullets, whose NBL road woes continued with a 96-85 loss to the New Zealand Breakers in Auckland.

American forward Patterson scored 36 points, a career-high in the NBL, but fatigue caught up with him in the final quarter on Monday when his influence waned and the Breakers held on for their fourth win of the season.

The seventh-placed Bullets have lost six of their past seven on the road and slip to 6-8 for the season, with the Breakers (4-9) one spot behind them on the ladder.

It was a crucial result for the Kiwi hosts, who suffered another setback in a tumultuous season when American import Glen Rice Junior was sacked earlier on Monday, for a breach of his bail conditions.

They were also without rising star RJ Hampton, who is awaiting scan results on a hip injury.

Those blows were countered by the return from injury of big-scoring guards Corey Webster and Scotty Hopson, who were both influential.

Webster top-scored for the hosts with 23, supported by captain Tom Abercrombie's 19. A third Kiwi, Finn Delany, mixed 14 points with eight rebounds.

Webster, who hadn't taken part in one practice session since suffering his ankle injury two weeks ago, said it felt like a return to proper team basketball after Rice was a dominant scoring figure in last Friday's loss in Cairns.

"It was unfortunate RJ was down but we got our core back and hopefully we can build on it now," Webster told Sky Sport NZ. "Amazing game, we all know what Lamar can do on the floor. He showed that but we held everybody else to a low score so that was alright for us."

The Brisbane stats sheet was more lop-sided than New Zealand's.

While Patterson's haul was the most by any Bullets player since their return to the NBL in 2016, their next biggest contributor was Jason Cadee with 11.

Former Atlanta Hawk Patterson paid tribute to New Zealand's slick team offence.

"Hat's off to the Breakers, they came to play, they were knocking down shots. At some points, they just weren't missing," he said.

"It's disappointing, it felt like we didn't finish strong."

Three-point shooting was a major differential, with the hosts landing nine of 21 compared to Brisbane's lamentable six of 25 from beyond the arc.

Both teams spurned decent early leads to be level 47-47 at halftime but the Breakers held sway after the main break, helped by some spectacular Hopson dunks in the final quarter.