The New Zealand Breakers' ANBL playoff aspirations are officially over as they slumped to a disappointing 114-107 defeat against the Adelaide 36ers on Thursday.
The Breakers were honouring their former owners, Paul and Liz Blackwell, at Auckland's Spark Arena while Tom Abercrombie was celebrating his 300th ANBL game for the club, but the 36ers spoiled the party.
Heading into the match, the Breakers had a slim chance of finishing inside the top four to qualify for the playoffs, if they won their four remaining games along with other results going their way, but the loss ended any hopes of that.
The Breakers have now lost three straight games and six of their last eight to sit seventh on the NBL ladder.
Both teams shot 50 percent from the field, but the Breakers struggled to contain the 36ers' deep shooters as they hit 13 of their 25 three-point attempts and Adelaide guard Nathan Sobey scored a season-high 27 points.
Fouls were also an issue for the Breakers, they fouled their opponents 26 times, which led to 25 points from the free-throw line.
Breakers centre Shawn Long led the home side with 28 points, 12 rebounds, while Patrick Richard finished with 24 points, shooting 6/11 from three.
Abercrombie contributed to his milestone game with 11 points, 3 rebounds and 4 assists.
"It always sucks losing, especially this late in the season. We needed this win tonight, and we didn't get it," Long told NBL.com.au.
"We had a rough first half and came out with the right energy in the second half, but things didn't go our way.
"A lot of the games, the losses and the wins, came down to energy. I think the guys going forward, whatever they do, just remember that and I think we'll all be all right in our future."
The 36ers, fighting for their own playoff spot, held a 30-24 at the end of the first quarter before Sobey helped the visitors extend their lead to 62-50 at halftime.
The Breakers managed to close the gap to five points in the final quarter, but it proved too little too late.
The Breakers have just 10 wins, and with three games remaining, they will likely finish second to last on the ANBL standings behind the Cairns Taipans.
They will now travel to Wollongong to face the Hawks on Saturday night.