For the second time in three days, Shawn Long's explosive form has led the NZ Breakers to a crucial win, this time 97-84 over archrivals Perth in Auckland.
American centre Long poured in 33 points on Sunday, as the home side roared back from a narrow half-time deficit to keep themselves firmly in the playoff picture and heap more misery on the faltering Wildcats.
The Breakers dug deep to produce a dominant second half, after Friday's 104-96 defeat of the 36ers in Adelaide. Long also starred in that game, tallying 28 points and 18 rebounds.
The powerhouse centre is a key figure, if the Kiwi club are to push for a fifth title this season, having been described recently as the best big man in the NBL by Breakers coach Kevin Braswell.
An athletic presence inside, a rare Long three-pointer effectively sealed the match, opening the margin to nine points with less than two minutes remaining, as Perth threatened a fightback.
Long and power forward Tai Wesley were key for the Breakers, when they went on a 15-point unbroken run late in the third quarter to swing the contest.
Wesley mixed 20 points with 10 rebounds to continue his fine form, while American guard Patrick Richard sank 14 points.
Reigning MVP Bryce Cotton manufactured 27 points for Perth in his return from a hamstring injury, but fellow import Terrico White was their only other player in double figures with 16.
The visitors managed just 37 percent shooting from the field, while the Breakers shot at 50 percent and, crucially, avoided the foul problems that had plagued them in three losses earlier this season to Perth.
Veteran Wildcats guard Damian Martin had a disappointing 300th game, although the defensive kingpin had a personal win by keeping counterpart Corey Webster scoreless.