NZ survive late 36ers rally in NBL

Ian Clark's missed three-pointer in the dying seconds has allowed the New Zealand Breakers to hold on for a heart-stopping 85-83 NBL victory over the Adelaide 36ers.

With the Adelaide Entertainment Centre selling out for a third successive match - and in front of a new Sixers record home crowd of 9368 - the Breakers led at every change and by nine points inside the last two minutes before Adelaide charged to the line.

Robert Franks' three-point play was followed by back-to-back Antonius Cleveland buckets, including a sensational coast-to-coast slam when he blew past Barry Brown Jr, reducing the gap to one point.

When Franks secured a powerful defensive rebound from Jarrell Brantley's miss with 14 seconds left, the last possession was the 36ers', but Clark's triple for the lead fell short.

Brown Jr (16 points) got the wheel in motion for the Breakers early and led an even charge for the visitors.

"I thought we controlled the second half in particular," NZ coach Mody Maor said.

"We're playing against teams that are playing against everything.

"We did a few good things today, but like everything, we can do better."

Franks (20 points, 13 rebounds), Cleveland (18), Kai Sotto (16) and Clark (16) were lion-hearted for the Sixers, who were left to rue a whopping 23 turnovers.

Behind some typically brawny defence, NZ held sway 19-15 at the first break and 45-38 at halftime while Adelaide, with just two first-half assists, were playing what NBL legend and commentator Andrew Gaze described as a "no-pass offence".

Playmaker Will McDowell-White made an impact in his return from a broken finger and Izayah Le'Afa had a hot hand from the perimeter.

Turnovers continued to plague the 36ers but behind some strong rebounding and a lift from Robert Franks, the home side closed the gap to 68-63 at three-quarter-time.

Sotto found something extra in the final term, as did foul-riddled Cleveland, the Sixers' fourth-quarter hero against Illawarra on Friday, but it was not quite enough for the home side.

"It was ours to take and we shot ourselves in the foot," 36ers coach CJ Bruton said.

"Valuing the ball is a big key and it really came down to our 23 turnovers.

"That put us in a difficult spot."