The New Zealand Breakers fizzled out in the final quarter against South East Melbourne to crash to their eighth loss in a difficult NBL season.
Up by four points at halftime, the Breakers trailed by one entering the final stanza before going down 90-79 in Melbourne on Saturday night, scoring just 14 points in the last 10 minutes.
"We ran out of gas," Breakers coach Maor said.
"There have been losses this year that I have been very angry about, where we didn't play the way we wanted to play, you didn't see our identity and you didn't see us connected - but this isn't one of them.
"We played hard, our guys competed and we did things the right way."
Shooting at just 27 percent from outside the three-point arc - compared to the Phoenix's 41 percent - proved decisive, while the home side were also able to snare 13 offensive rebounds.
Izayah Le'afa top-scored for the Breakers with 17 while imports Anthony Lamb (14 points) and Park Jackson-Cartwright were below their usual production levels.
Veteran forward Mitch Creek was dominant for South East Melbourne, scoring 26 points and bagging seven rebounds.
A fourth loss from 12 games leaves the Breakers languishing in eighth place and needing a reversal in fortunes if they're to reach the top-six playoffs.