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Breakers stun NBL-leading Kings in Sydney

Sydney Kings coach Chase Buford is remaining calm after the reigning champions' first back-to-back losses of the season came just weeks out from the NBL playoffs.

The largest crowd for any NBL game this season - 14,232 - turned out for a possible finals preview against the New Zealand Breakers, who claimed a 93-88 win that brings a four-game losing streak to a halt and has them closing in on a finals spot.

The Breakers had the Kings' measure in the first half and shot better from the three-point line (seven from 14) than the Kings did from the field (nine from 27).

While the home side clawed back to take the lead again in a see-sawing final quarter, a Jarrell Brantley three-pointer in the final 15 seconds sealed the result for the visitors.

"It's hard to win games against anybody when you miss as many point-blank shots at the rim as we did," Kings coach Chase Buford said.

"We missed more shots in the paint than they took. We missed 25 in the paint, they took 24.

"I don't think (the loss) is cause for concern. The start hurt us again, we spot them a lead early and then playing catch-up is hard to do sometimes."

The Kings' game plan 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, no Kings player had registered double figures for points and MVP candidate Xavier Cooks had only one basket from the field from four attempts.

As Barry Brown continues to sit out with a groin injury, Will McDowell-White (20 points, 10 assists, six rebounds) and Brantley (30 points, nine rebounds, five assists) were the Breakers' most prolific scorers and went into the half on triple-double watch with the visitors 14 points up.

Scoring dried up in the third quarter but Dejan Vasiljevic hit a three-pointer at a tight angle in the last ten seconds 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 levelling 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.

With the scores tied, Brantley came up with a clutch play that could not be equalled by Kings big man Tim Soares, who missed his own shot from deep that could have levelled.

Breakers coach Mody Maor lauded his side's ability to win during a busy period in the schedule, without Brown or Izayah Le'Afa (back injury) and after dropping seven of their previous nine games.

He expects Brown may be available for Thursday's match against Brisbane.

"I'm very proud of our guys," he said.

"There was a lot of stuff stacked against us in this situation and they came out and played like men.

"Confident, tough, humble but unfazed, and not scared of the ball. Those are great signs."