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Breakers bounce back to force decider

SHOWING the heart and courage missing in Game 3's road loss to Sydney, New Zealand today produced the blueprint for how to claim the NBL championship, stunning the Kings 80-70 in Game 4 and in front of a record attendance of 9,742 fans at Auckland's Spark Arena.

The biggest basketball crowd in Breakers' history was in full voice as the home team, led by import Jarell Brantley but with important contributions across the board, seized control from the opening tip, never trailed and led by as many as 15.

Brantley almost seemed to take personally Xavier Cooks' elevation into the NBA's Washington Wizards post-playoffs, attacking the league MVP with considerable venom.

The Kings made a third quarter run and when they closed to within a regulation basket to conclude the third quarter, the mood in the Sydney camp was very much "let's finish this now".

But New Zealand had other ideas. William McDowell-White stroked a triple and Brantley added a basket for 59-52 as the Breakers prepared to send the series to a decider.

Thomas Abercrombie produced six steals and Rob Loe also had his moments as Sydney struggled to find consistent answers. 

The Kings drew terrific efforts from benchmen such as Jordan Hunter and Angus Glover but the breakaway steal then dunk by Barry Brown Jr left no doubt the momentum had swung again in this series.

All that was left was a classy press conference from Breakers mentor Mody Maor and the usual, if not typical Chase Buford spew we've had two seasons to grow accustomed to whenever his boys lose. 

(McDowell-White, Brown Jr 19, Brantley 16; McDowell-White 9 rebs; McDowell-White 9 assts) d SYDNEY KINGS 87 (Simon 18, Hunter 15, Walton 12, Vasiljevic 11; Simon 6 rebs; Walton 6 assts) at Qudos Bank Arena. Crowd: 13,145
Game 2: SYDNEY KINGS 81 (Noi 20, Vasiljevic 16, Simon, Glover 12; Hunter 10 rebs; Bruce 3 assts) d NEW ZEALAND BREAKERS 74 (Brown 21, Brantley 20, Le’Afa 14; Pardon 11 rebs; McDowell-White 4 assts) at Spark Arena. Crowd: 8,429
Game 3: SYDNEY KINGS 91 (Vasiljevic 15, Soares 14, Simon 13, Walton 12, Glover 11, Cooks 10; Cooks 8 rebs; Walton 9 assts) d NEW ZEALAND BREAKERS 68 (McDowell-White 11, Brantley, Rupert, Brown 10; McDowell-White, Le’Afa 6 rebs; Brown, Le’Afa 3 assts) at Qudos Bank Arena. Crowd: 18,049
Game 4: NEW ZEALAND BREAKERS 80 (Brantley 23, Brown 20, McDowell-White 19; Loe, Pardon, McDowell-White 6 rebs; McDowell-White 5 assts) d SYDNEY KINGS 70 (Walton 18, Glover 12, Cooks 10; Simon 7 rebs; Walton 4 assts) at Spark Arena. Crowd: 9.742

Series tied 2-2

Mar 12

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