The Breakers are coming off winning the last three NBL championships and winning their home opener last Thursday against the Wollongong Hawks, but the Crocs got their 2013/14 campaign up and running with a 94-84 victory at The Swamp.
The other Friday night fixture was at the Perth Arena, with the Wildcats going on a 15-0 run throughout a three-minute stretch late in the final quarter inspired by NBA-contracted James Ennis to secure the 81-69 win over the Kings.
It was an exciting night of NBL action in Round 2 of the season and while there was another good crowd of 10,573 at the Perth Arena, it was a disappointing attendance of just 2905 in Townsville particularly after the local community rallied to save the club from extinction over the winter.
It was a tight first half in Townsville with the Breakers only securing a 49-47 half-time lead thanks to a more than half-court buzzer-beater from import point guard Kerron Johnson.
However, the Crocs came out inspired after half-time desperate not to lose its second straight match at The Swamp to open the season, and outscored the Breakers 21 to 13 in the third quarter.
Townsville's lead got out to as much as 13 points after a Todd Blanchfield three with five and-a-half minutes to go but the Breakers fought back to make a game of it again closing to within five points with four minutes to go.
The Crocs wouldn’t be denied on the night, though, finishing the game strongly to secure the 10-point victory and see both them and the Breakers sit on 1-1 records.
New Zealand must now quickly back up and play the Cairns Taipans at the Cairns Convention Centre on Saturday night before returning home.
Blanchfield led the way for the Crocodiles with a career-best night finishing with 23 points on the back of 9-of-11 shooting from the field and 4-of-6 from three-point territory.
He received strong support from Townsville's two imports with Josh Pace scoring 22 points and Brian Conklin 18 to go with eight rebounds.
Jacob Holmes also had 10 points, eight boards and four assists off the bench for the Crocs in Shawn Dennis' first win as coach of Townsville.
Johnson has arrived in New Zealand with a big task of trying to replace the league's MVP Cedric Jackson as point guard but he did well in his second match for the Breakers with 21 points on an efficient 9-of-11 shooting from the field.
Alex Pledger also had 15 points and 10 rebounds for New Zealand, Tom Abercrombie 14 points, Corey Webster 13 and Daryl Corletto 11 but it wasn’t enough.
Meanwhile in Perth, the Kings did well for three and-a-half quarters against the Wildcats and scores were tied at 62-apiece with five and-a-half minutes remaining but things then turned in Perth's favour as the home side wrapped up the match in a three-minute stretch of 15 straight points.
It all started with a three for Jermaine Beal, but then Ennis nailed his second breakaway dunk of the night before a lay-up stretched the 'Cats lead out to seven.
Shawn Redhage nailed a triple to just about seal the deal for the home side but then Ennis put together a play that will live on the highlights reel for some time.
It started with a blocked shot on a Jesse Sanders jumper attempt at one end and then he got on the end of it at the other end and threw down a huge slam that ended up in a three-point play.
Redhage then nailed two free-throws to end a 15-0 run for the Wildcats that ended up securing the 12-point victory over a Kings team that played well, and fought hard, outside of that three-minute patch where Perth showed what it was capable of.
Ennis finished with 27 points and six rebounds for the Wildcats with Redhage adding 22 points, eight boards and our assists with Beal adding 10 points and five assists but he shot just 2-of-11 from the field. Jervis worked hard against AJ Ogilvy with seven points, seven boards and six blocks.
Kings big man Ogilvy was a strong inside presence again for Sydney and finished with 18 points, six rebounds and four blocked shots to go with 16 points and 10 rebounds from Brad Hill while Sanders contributed solidly with 10 points and six boards.
NBL Round 2 will now continue with two matches on Saturday featuring the Taipans hosting the Breakers with the Adelaide 36ers facing the Wollongong Hawks at the Adelaide Arena.
Then on Sunday, the Melbourne Tigers host its first home game of the season at The Cage against the Perth Wildcats.