NZ Breakers have stolen home advantage from the champion Sydney Kings, taking the opening game of the ANBL finals series 95-87 at Qudos Bank Arena.
Aussie guard Will McDowell-White and American Barry Brown Jr led the Auckland club with 19 points each, with the former flirting with a triple double, compiling nine rebounds and nine assists.
Nine different players converted from the three-point arc, while the Breakers dominated the boards with 14 offensive rebounds.
The visitors dominated much of the contest, grabbing a seven-point lead after the opening quarter and stretching it to 13 before halftime. Sydney whittled away at the margin over the third quarter, but could never quite close the gap.
They trailed by only two points (84-82) midway through the fourth quarter, but a jump shot and two free throws from Brown gave the Breakers some breathing room, before seven unanswered points virtually clinched the upset.
Sydney may have to rally from their predicament without the services of American import and season topscorer Derrick Walton Jr, who was helped off the court in the dying moments with a leg injury.
Game Two is scheduled for 6pm (NZ time) Sunday at a soldout Spark Arena, where victory would carry the Breakers within one more win of a fifth ANBL crown in the best-of-five series.
NZ Breakers 95 (McDowell-White 19, Brown Jr 19, Brantley 16) Sydney Kings 87 (Simon 18, Hunter 15, Walton Jr 12)