The Tall Blacks sponsored by Security Placements, went toe to toe with another giant in the basketball world in their opening game at the FIBA World Cup but were undone by a third quarter lapse in losing 94-102 to Brazil in Nanjing.
The game opened with a tight first half, with the Tall Blacks hitting 10 three-pointers and Corey Webster's 17 points leading the way. Brazil, meanwhile, struggled from the field, but they eventually found their rhythm in the second period as they headed to the break all tied up, 50-all.
When the teams returned from the lockers in the second half, it was a different story. The Brazilians of coach Aleksandar Petrovic finally found their samba groove, and it was their turn to shoot the lights out and erect a double-digit lead. Coach Paul Henare's Tall Blacks still tried to mount a last ditch comeback, but the Brazilians successfully staved their challenge off till the final buzzer.
New Zealand next face Montenegro in Nanjing on September 3rd, tip off 4pm Beijing Time.