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Breakers hurt Bullets NBL playoff hopes

New Zealand Breakers coach Dan Shamir lauded his team's performance as a "miracle" after their 99-96 NBL escape act at Brisbane's Nissan Arena.

The Brisbane Bullets should have put the Breakers away after leading by 16 points early and by 10 early in the final quarter on Friday.

But New Zealand clung desperately to the home side and finished over the top of them thanks to a buzzer-beating three-pointer from import Scotty Hopson.

"Hanging around in this game is a miracle I think," Shamir said.

"Although the stat sheet is similar, overall Brisbane played a much better game than us.

"We're happy to steal it but we need to play better."

Hopson's 27 points came despite the Brisbane's best defensive efforts against the silky guard.

Finn Delany (18 points) was also part of the stirring comeback finished off by Hopson's triple with just seconds left on the clock.

"I'm pretty confident in those positions," Hopson admitted post-match.

"I put myself mentally in those spots all the time."

It was a missed opportunity for the Bullets who only a week ago downed the league-leading Sydney Kings to raise their finals hopes.

Those ambitions are now looking shaky despite the performance of veteran Nathan Sobey.

The guard had his best night since joining the Bullets, landing a game-high 29 points to go with six assists.

Giving up 19 points in the last five minutes cost the Bullets dearly.

"Our defence wasn't where it needed to be," Bullets coach Andrej Lemanis said.

"Offensively we started to dry up a little bit in the fourth as well. The ball stopped moving.

"When we do that we tend to rely on Lamar (Patterson) to make plays."

Patterson had 21 points, including a tough lay-up in the closing minutes but could not be the saviour Brisbane needed.

With fourth spot a realistic prospect if they beat Melbourne United on Sunday, the Bullets did everything right in the first half.

From the way they defended the rim to Sobey's three first-quarter assists, all the signs indicated a resolute performance.

They shut the Breakers down, with Hopson the sole threat with 10 of the Breakers' first 17 points, the team's equal lowest start for the season.

Not even Hopson could make a difference in the second quarter. Brisbane's Taylor Braun ensured the former Cleveland Cavalier had little impact.

Yet bit by bit, Hopson made the Breakers believe.

With just 42 seconds left on the clock, Delany hit a three-pointer to level the scores, the precursor to Hopson's match-winner.