BRADFORD Dragons' final home game of the National Basketball League season finished with a 96-86 victory against Division One bottom side Newham NASSA Neptunes.

It was an unconvincing performance by the hosts but the win keeps their slim play-off hopes alive and pushes Newham a step closer towards relegation.

The Dragons were slow out of the blocks and, with less than five minutes played, coach Chris Mellor was forced into calling his first time-out with his side tailing 10-4.

Bradford picked up the pace following Mellor's intervention and by the end of the first quarter they had turned it around to lead 19-18.

But in the second period they slipped back into a state of slumber, with a series of missed shots and fumbled passes allowing the Neptunes to take back the advantage.

The Dragons went back to the locker rooms on the wrong end of a 45-40 scoreline and expecting some more strong words from Mellor.

Despite another slow start in the third quarter, Bradford gradually got into their stride and somehow, when the buzzer went for the end of the penultimate period, they had managed to turn the tables once more and led 69-66.

In the final quarter the lead changed hands several times and with just less than two and a half minutes remaining, the Dragons were holding on to a slim one-point lead.

It seemed that the game was going all the way to the final buzzer but then, just when it counted most, the home side finally found their rhythm and put the outcome beyond the reach of the courageous Neptunes.

Local boy Jermayne Laing celebrated his birthday with a man-of-the-match performance, top-scoring for the Dragons with 28 points, while American JP Davis netted 18 and veteran shooter Jason Swaine added 15 to the total.

Mellor reflected: "We came out flat, with no energy or defensive intensity, and it pretty much continued in that vain until we finally woke up in the fourth and put some stops together, letting us get some transition baskets.

"To be fair, NASSA didn't make things easy for us. But we needed the win to keep things interesting for our visit to Worthing next weekend."

The Dragons finish the regular season with two tough away games at Worthing Thunder on Saturday and then Manchester Magic the following week.

If other results go in Bradford's favour, wins in both these games could sneak them a place in the end-of-season play-off competition.

Mellor said: "It's going to be a tough ask but one that the squad is certainly up for."

Other results for the Dragons saw the under-18s lose their final match of season 84-82 at York Eagles, while the under-16s won 61-34 at Trafford.