ANBL: NZ Breakers fall agonisingly short of comeback victory over Cairns Taipans

NZ Breakers have fallen to a last-gasp defeat at the hands of Cairns Taipans, going down 70-68 in Launceston, Tasmania.

In the clash between the ANBL's two bottom-placed sides, Cairns took the lead in the final seconds through a Tad Dufelmeier, as the Kiwi side looked for a late leveller.

Corey Webster was rejected in the final five seconds, before Levi Randolph couldn't hit the target in the dying moments as the Breakers fell agonisingly short.

Finn Delany shone for the Kiwis with 23 points and 14 rebounds, backed up by another standout showing from Webster, who had 15 points and seven assists.

For Cairns, Nate Jawai's 21 points were the best on show, supported by 14 points to Dufelmeier. 

But it was an error-strewn night for both sides, who each shot below 30 percent in the first quarter. The end of the first spell, which Cairns led 12-10, meant the lowest combined quarter-time score of the current season.

While the first quarter was close though, it was the second that ultimately sealed the Breakers' fate. A steady showing from Jawai inside the paint saw the Breakers outscored 27-12, as the Taipans took a 39-25 lead into halftime.

That lead swelled to 51-32 at the end of the third quarter, only for the Breakers to come roaring back in the final period.

Delany and Webster saw the Breakers threaten a late comeback, going on an 18-2 scoring run, but Cairns' lead was too great to overhaul, condemning the Kiwi side to their first loss in three games, having beaten both Brisbane Bullets and Perth Wildcats in their last two fixtures.

Despite the defeat though, the Breakers still keep hold of second-to-last on the ANBL ladder, ahead of the Taipans on points differential, both with seven wins. 

The Breakers are three wins off the seventh placed Adelaide 36ers, and six wins off a play-off spot, currently held by South East Melbourne Phoenix, who have 13 wins. 

The Breakers though do have three games in hand over the Phoenix, and two games in hand over the 36ers, who they play next on Monday night.