Two third-quarter ejections did little to calm a fiery NBL match at Auckland's North Shore Events Centre on Thursday.
Competition leader New Zealand cruised to an easy victory 106-85 over fourth-placed Gold Coast, but not before forwards Leon Henry for the Breakers and the Blaze's Anthony Petrie were ejected following an all-in brawl midway through the third quarter.
The Breakers took time to ease into their work and only some outstanding offensive rebounding early on from Mika Vukona kept them in the game.
But the Blaze's swarming zone defence continued to unsettle the Breakers and the Queenslanders led 31-25 at the end of the first quarter, guards Adris Deleon and James Harvey proving unstoppable from the three-point line.
The Breakers regathered, turning around a six-point deficit to a 58-50 lead at half-time.
With their long-range shots starting to fall, the Breakers extended their lead in the third stanza and the Blaze's frustrations finally boiled over five minutes into the spell as they trailed 57-73.
Two player ejections eased the tension only slightly, but the home side responded better and ran away in the closing quarter for its eighth win from 11 starts.
Vukona was in doubt for the match - his 150th for the Breakers - after rolling an ankle in training, but finished the game with an impressive 21 points and 11 rebounds.
Thomas Ambercrombie also picked up a double double, making 16 and 10, while Daryl Corletto and Alex Pledger also contributed 18 points apiece.
For the Blaze, Harvey and forward Will Hudson top scored with 19 each, but received precious little back-up.
AAPTags: nbl, basketball, sport, new-zealand, broadbeach-4218, qld, australia First posted December 08, 2011 21:03:30