Breakers end United’s winning streak
MELBOURNE United have come unstuck in Auckland again, having their seven-match NBL winning streak shut down by a 92-77 loss to the New Zealand Breakers.
The hosts pulled clear in the closing minutes of Thursday night's rollercoaster affair, having squandered a 20-point halftime lead to trail briefly midway through the final quarter.
They found their second wind to maintain a perfect eight-from-eight record against Melbourne at home.
It leaves both teams on the same 13-7 season record early in round 15 alongside co-leaders Perth, who claim top spot on percentage.
Any prospect of a blowout disappeared in the six minutes after halftime when Melbourne import Casper Ware (19 points) came alive after being restricted to just three points in the first spell.
The Breakers lost their own free-scoring guard Edgar Sosa (16) to an ankle injury at the same time, helping momentum swing markedly.
Up 60-40 at halftime and shooting at 63 per cent, the home team's attack was restricted to just nine points in the third quarter as Melbourne went on a 14-point run.
New Zealand veterans Kirk Penney (15) and Thomas Abercrombie (13) eventually took up the scoring workload, while Mika Vukona's 11 rebounds were critical in a physical contest.
Melbourne guard Chris Goulding's 22-point haul topped all scorers but he lacked support. The visiting bench managed just 15 points to the Breakers' 43.
The Breakers ended up bettering their 12-point winning margin when the teams last met in October in Melbourne and it means they have won 10 of the past 11 meetings between the two traditionally strong clubs.
They are away to Cairns on Saturday, the same day Melbourne travel to Brisbane.