An outstanding last quarter has inspired the Tall Blacks to an 82-73 win over China in their Asian World Cup qualifier in Dongguan on Saturday morning (NZ time).
Trailing by three points entering the final period, the Tall Blacks outscored the hosts 27-15 to claim the win, which propels New Zealand to the top of Pool A.
It was a remarkable effort from the Tall Blacks, missing experienced duo Thomas Abercrombie and Mika Vukona, who are being rested ahead of the Breakers' finals series against Melbourne United.
Brothers Corey and Tai Webster scored 18 points each, while former NBA players Jianlian Yi scored a game-high 37 points for the hosts.
Head Coach Paul Henare was proud of his players for digging deep in the final quarter.
"Our aim was to play pressure defence for the full 40 minutes and I thought at times we did that superbly," he said after the match.
"In the final quarter though, we got some great stops and they crumbled under that pressure. I am immensely proud of the boys.
"I knew we would wear them down, our sustained pressure was too much for them. 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, our baseline effort has to define who we are as a team, and we saw what we can achieve off the back of that tonight."
The Tall Blacks face South Korea in Seoul on Monday night (NZ time). The last time the two nations squared off South Korea were victorious, winning 86-80 in Wellington in November.