A trio of desperate contenders remain in the hunt for the last place in the NBL finals after New Zealand Breakers staged a 91-87 win at Brisbane's Nissan Arena.
For the second time this season on their home court, Brisbane Bullets had no answer to Breakers star Scotty Hopson whose 31 points and seven rebounds ensured the New Zealanders, Brisbane and Melbourne United will fight it out over fourth place in the final week of the season.
A Brisbane victory would have ended the Breakers season and all but guarantee the Bullets' playoffs qualification.
But the Breakers had other ideas.
The Auckland outfit was in sight of an upset when they led by two points at three-quarter time and to add to the drama, in-form Bullets centre Matt Hodgson fouled out with six minutes remaining.
Their lead stretched to four at times but in a frantic finish, Lamar Patterson hit a pair of free throws inside the last minute to narrow the margin to two and give the Bullets hope.
Sensing the moment to swoop, Breakers guard Finn Delany delivered the final blow with a tough lay-up to keep his team's finals hopes alive.
Not even 30 points from Brisbane guard Nathan Sobey could extend the Bullets' winning sequence to a seventh straight victory.
With their season on the line, Breakers Tom Abercrombie and Sek Henry took to the air in the first quarter.
Their combined six 3-pointers was a warning the Bullets could not channel all their defensive energy into containing import Hopson.
Brisbane shot at a laser-accurate 64 per cent from the field in the first half but paid dearly for a series of turnovers that kept the visitors in touch.
Hopson was the chief punisher with 19 first-half points as the Breakers threatened a boilover.
The Bullets had their best defender Taylor Braun shadowing Hopson and still the former University of Tennessee swingman found multiple ways to score