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Breakers’ Jarrell Brantley leads his team to crucial NBL victory over Sydney Kings

Jarrell Brantley of the Breakers produced a stunning performance against the Kings in Sydney.

Brendon Thorne/Getty Images

Jarrell Brantley of the Breakers produced a stunning performance against the Kings in Sydney.

At Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney: New Zealand Breakers 93 (Jarrell Brantley 30, Will McDowell-White 20, Rob Loe 15) Sydney Kings 88 (Derrick Walton 17, Justin Simon 16). QT: 22-17. HT: 55-41. 3 QT: 70-68.

A Jarrell Brantley masterclass helped the New Zealand Breakers topple the league leaders and end a four-game losing streak in Sydney on Sunday.

Brantley scored 30 points, hauled in nine rebounds and added five assists to guide the Breakers home 93-88 over the Sydney Kings in the Australian National Basketball League.

He was huge down the stretch, too, hitting a three-pointer with 14 seconds left to break an 86-86 deadlock, before sinking a brace of free throws to ensure a much-needed victory.

The largest crowd for any NBL game this season – 14,232 – turned out for a possible finals preview but it was the visitors who came up trumps.

It revived the third-placed Breakers (14-10) who slumped to a fourth successive defeat, 78-76 to Illawarra Hawks at home last Thursday. It was just the Kings’ seventh loss of the season.

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Will McDowell-White was also big for the Breakers with 20 points, 10 assists and six rebounds while Rob Loe had 13 of his 15 points in the first half as the visitors built a handy 55-41 buffer at the main break.

In the 2022/23 campaign, the Kings bounce back from losses by an average winning margin of 17 points but have now lost back-to-back games for the first time this season.

NZ Breakers

The Kiwi club is looking to their import center to patrol the paint in 2022-23.

The Kings’ gameplan typically relies on controlling the paint and outpacing their opposition but the Breakers found ways to frustrate Sydney on the offensive end, despite struggling to control the reigning champions on transition.

At halftime, now Kings player had registered double figures for points and MVP candidate Xavier Cooks had only one basket from the field from four attempts.

The Breakers shot better from three (seven from 14) than the Kings did from the field (nine from 27) in the first half.

Scoring dried up in the third quarter but a Kouat Noi triple followed by a Justin Simon (16 points, four rebounds) steal-and-dunk play had the Kings back within six points and the Breakers called a timeout.

Derek Pardon of the Breakers competes with Jordan Hunter of the Kings.

Brendon Thorne/Getty Images

Derek Pardon of the Breakers competes with Jordan Hunter of the Kings.

Dejan Vasiljevic hit a three-pointer at a tight angle in the last ten seconds of the third period to reduce the deficit to two points and give Sydney all the momentum heading into the final change.

Cooks (11 points, four assists) showed flashes of his brilliant best in the final quarter, first leveling the scores with a lay-up and then sending a no-look pass to Vasiljevic to give the Kings the lead for the first time since the opening period.

Derrick Walton Jr. tied the scores up for the Kings with a free throw in the final 40 seconds before Brantley’s triple.

Tim Soares had a chance to level with his own three but the ball bounced off the rim and the Breakers held on.

The Breakers now head to Brisbane to take on the second-last placed Bullets on Thursday.

– with AAP

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