A third quarter collapse has cost the Tall Blacks victory in their FIBA Basketball World Cup opener against Brazil in China.
Brazil ended up deserved winners, closing the match out 102-94 in front of a half-full stadium in Nanjing.
Tied 50-50 at half time, New Zealand was keeping pace with the 12th ranked side in the world.
However, in the third quarter Brazil coach Aleksander Petrovic brought on experienced small forward Alex Garcia who completely changed the dynamic of the match.
Garcia hit two threes in a row and was assisted by his teammates as Brazil stretched its lead to 16 points at the end of the third quarter - outscoring the Tall Blacks 28 points to 12.
New Zealand's pace and space game plan had worked well up until the third quarter, but the Brazilians managed to shut down Tall Blacks shooting guard Corey Webster, who had been causing his opponents grief on defence as he scored at will from beyond the arc.
On top of that, New Zealand's defensive assertiveness disappeared in the third as Brazil started to move the ball better on attack, leading to easy scoring opportunities.
A fight back in the fourth quarter got the Tall Blacks back to within eight points of Brazil but it was too little too late for New Zealand.
Webster finished as the Tall Blacks' top scorer with 19 points, Isaac Fotu 17 and Shea Ili netted 16 points.
Brazil's old guard Leandrinho Barbosa top scored in the match with 22 points, Rafa Luz had 15 and Garcia 14.
The Tall Blacks now have to beat Montenegro on Tuesday night to have any chance of qualifying for the next round of the tournament.