Perth Wildcats dragged the two-time defending champion New Zealand Breakers down to earth with a thud courtesy of a 93-72 win in Friday's NBL season opener.
In front of a sellout Auckland crowd, the Wildcats gained some measure of revenge for their loss to the Breakers in last year's grand final series, applying pressure that caused the rusty-looking hosts to crumble.
The Wildcats' defensive heat and some clunky Breakers offence were behind a lopsided second quarter which saw Perth open up a 54-34 halftime lead.
The hosts made little headway on that margin throughout the second half as Perth turned what had been touted as a tantalising opening match between two teams expected to feature prominently this season into a coasting victory.
The visitors dominated nearly every important statistic, most notably shooting accuracy where their 53 per cent ratio eclipsed the Breakers' 44 per cent.
They also won the rebound battle 36-24 and scored 44 points in the paint compared to 26 from the hosts.
Having opened up an early six-point lead, the Breakers slumped to trail by as much as 25 late in the second quarter as the offensive fluency that has carried them to the last two titles deserted them.
Forward Matthew Knight led all scorers with 24 for Perth, getting good support from Shawn Redhage (19), Damian Martin (18) and Kevin Lisch (16).
Breakers star guard Cedric Jackson was kept quiet in the first half but still top-scored for them with 16 and Dillon Boucher was next best with 11.
Lisch, who pipped Jackson as league MVP last year, praised the attitude of his side.
"Our whole team was tough on defence and that's really what we're looking for this year," Lisch told Sky Sports.
"They (Breakers) missed some shots that they'd normally make but credit our defence.
"It was a good result, we just need 27 more."
Breakers import recruit Will Hudson, who replaced free-scoring forward Gary Wilkinson in the off-season, said his team paid for too many turnovers and predicted a tough self-examination before facing the Adelaide 36ers.
"This game came down to execution and we'll have to work on some things to get ready for next week, and do it quickly," he said.