The Breakers made up for their horror third quarter with an inspired final term with NBA draft hopeful RJ Hampton (16 points, seven rebounds) cutting the lead to 102-99 with 20 seconds to play before Casey Prather hit two free throws to seal the win.
Melbourne’s record has now improved to 4-4 on the season with this win their fourth in five games. They host the Adelaide 36ers at Melbourne Arena on Sunday.
Melbourne centre Shawn Long was yet again dominant in the opening term and finished with 22 points and eight rebounds. His play inside helped his side to a 52-42 advantage in points in the paint.
Prather scored seven points in 14 minutes as he returned from knee surgery and Melbourne will hope he recovers well from this game and can again give them a strong performance against Adelaide.
Melbourne coach Dean Vickerman warned his side to expect anything from Rice Jr considering a newly arrived import can often shoot freely in his first game.
Rice Jr did just that after coming off the bench in the first term, knocking down some threes and throwing down an alley-oop dunk off a baseline play to have 11 points in just four minutes with scores tied at 27-27.
While Rice Jr was firing away, Melbourne were continuing to find Long close to the basket and he was asking lots of questions of the Breakers who managed to remain in front 53-51 at half-time.
Goulding fired up in the third term and the Breakers had no answer with his early lay-up putting Melbourne ahead before the visitors locked down defensively and built an 84-67 lead at three-quarter time.
David Barlow, Goulding and Long all had good moments in the last but Melbourne will be disappointed the Breakers managed to get back so close to them considering their lead the start of the term.