Guard Corey Webster has sparked NZ Breakers to their second straight ANBL win, as the displaced Auckland team finally build momentum on their 2021 campaign across the Tasman.
After winning just one of their opening seven games, the Breakers have built on a record win over Adelaide with a 97-92 result over Brisbane Bullets, guided by former Breakers coach Andrej Lemanis, who led the club to three championships.
Webster topscored for this team with 21 points, before fouling out, while younger brother Tai had 19 and nine rebounds, and Rasmus Bach provided 16 points, including four three-pointers, off the bench.
Bach credits a team visit to Melbourne's Lunar Park for his breakthrough performance.
"The G-forces helped clear out my head and locked me in," he grins. "I think I got to hit coach on the bumper cars one time and get a little frustration out.
"We're feeling good, but for sure, we've got a lot of work to do and we're not satisfied. We're starting to get our chemistry together and as long as we keep working hard and doing what the coaches say, we can make a big run here."
The result sees the Breakers leapfrog Cairns Taipans off the bottom of the ANBL standings, with three wins from nine games.
As they had against the 36ers, the Breakers jumped out to an early advantage, building a 20-point lead in the opening quarter, but lost most of that advantage through the middle stages of the contest, allowing Brisbane within three down the stretch.
With 40 seconds remaining, Anthony Drmic made a lay-up to pull within striking distance, but a key offensive rebound from Breakers captain Tom Abercrombie forced the Bullets to foul and Bach sank free throws with six seconds on the lock to seal victory.
"Today, we started well and knew that it was going to get tougher," says coach Dan Shamir.
"We were going to have some tough moments, when the Bullets would respond and we would have to play through some mistakes - it's good that we did that."
The upswing in form comes despite losing Tall Blacks centre Rob Loe for the season and American import Lamar Patterson for 4-6 weeks, with a knee injury.
They next face Melbourne United, under another former Breakers coach Dean Vickerman, on Friday.
NZ Breakers 97 (C Webster 21, T Webster 19, Bach 16, Iverson 15, Abercrombie 13) Brisbane Bullets 92 (Law 19, Sobey 18, Drmic 17)