The New Zealand Breakers have surged to the top of the NBL ladder after bringing Tasmania JackJumpers' four-game winning streak to an end with a comprehensive 94-62 victory at Auckland's Spark Arena.
Sunday's battle between two of the hottest teams in the league opened up as a defensive slog with the Breakers holding Tasmania to their lowest halftime score of the season in a 33-25 start.
The JackJumpers lifted at the offensive end in the third quarter but New Zealand powered home with a 30-12 smashing in the final stanza to win their third match in a row, and fifth in their last six starts.
After pulling off the biggest victory in the NBL so far this season, the Breakers improved their win-loss record to 6-2, moving ahead of the Sydney Kings on percentage.
The result also sets up a mouthwatering home clash with the Kings next Sunday with coach Mody Maor not getting carried away by his team's early-season success.
"I don't care, next one up. I don't think there's a target on our back. I think everybody underestimates us anyway, I like it that way," Maor said about their impending clash with the defending champions.
New Zealand's import combination of Barry Brown Jr (24 points), Dererk Pardon (15 points, 14 rebounds) and Jarrell Brantley (11 points, eight rebounds) were key contributors in the victory, catching the eye of Tasmania coach Scott Roth.
"The biggest thing that they've done is obviously they've defended but I think they got their three imports 100 per cent correct and that is a great starting point for them," Roth said about the Breakers after they handed his squad their biggest-ever defeat.
The home side closed a tight opening quarter with a 17-15 lead with Pardon pulling in some key offensive rebounds as part of a six-point, seven-rebound start.
Both teams struggled to score in the second term with the visitors held to just 10 points but Brown Jr proved the exception with a nine-point burst that included a series of strong drives to the basket before closing the half with a late three-pointer.
Tasmania's offence started to click in the third quarter with Milton Doyle and Jack McVeigh meeting the challenge to combine for 16 points in the term.
But whenever the JackJumpers threatened to draw level, the Breakers repeatedly found an answering score with Brown Jr staying hot while Brantley's third triple of the game took the lead into double figures.