NBL BREAKERS 36ERS
Adelaide's NBL finals hopes have been virtually buried while New Zealand Breakers live to fight another day after the long bombs of the hosts propelled them to a 113-89 win in Auckland.
In their most punishing offensive display of the season, the Breakers sunk 20 of 37 three-point shots on Friday, including seven of 11 from captain Tom Abercrombie.
Adelaide were powerless to stop the onslaught, in a match that pitted two teams who entered on the same 11-13 record and sitting just outside the top four.
A seventh loss in their last 10 games leaves the 36ers with only a slim mathematical chance of reaching the post-season, having also fallen painstakingly short 12 months ago.
Their fuming top-scorer Daniel Johnson said they don't deserve to advance on the back of such a dysfunctional display.
"If we play like that, we don't give ourselves a chance of winning any game," he told Sky Sport.
"Just our defence. We couldn't get stops, no rotations, no talk, people just being selfish.
"(On offence) I think we just stopped moving the ball. People were taking bad shots."
The Breakers remain sixth but still within sight of Brisbane (13-11) and Melbourne (12-12), who they must leapfrog over the closing two weeks.
Veteran Abercrombie came within two points of a career-high return with 31 points and said scoring ended up coming easily.
"We knew if we could hold them down, we could get what we wanted at the defensive end," he said.
"We executed really well and just dissected their pressure. We were able to get easy shots, open threes and really anything we wanted."
Fellow-Kiwi forward Finn Delany was just as impressive, mixing 21 points with 11 rebounds, while guard Sek Henry contributed 18 points in what was comfortably their highest team score of the season.
The Breakers have won eight of their last 11 games but will need to continue that form in two crunch games on the road, against Illawarra on Sunday and Brisbane next week.
Johnson scored 20 of his 24 points in the first half but his fade summed up the 36ers' fortunes, who trailed just 49-45 at the main break.
Jack McVeigh scored 20 but star guard Jerome Randle was restricted to just 10 in what was Adelaide's biggest loss of the season.