The result was much needed to steady the nerves, after the Americans captured their first victory and closed to 4-1 the first-to-seven format yesterday, resurrecting ghosts of San Francisco for years ago, when Oracle came back from 8-1 down to retain the Auld Mug.
Spithill, who was penalized for being over the start during one of Sunday's races, swerved as he flew in toward the line alongside Burling's 50-foot (15 meter) foiling catamaran, losing critical momentum.
But Spithill's been here before.
However, just as they had taken the lead, ORACLE TEAM USA were punished once again as the boats crossed for a second time on leg 3/7.
Team NZ narrowly won race seven before a dominant display in the eighth meeting for a 30-second victory to take match point.
Although the New Zealand team got away, the champions recovered well and fought their way back into the race, finding the speed which had evaded them in previous encounters. We've seen these guys taking days off.
"I'll do whatever is good for the team", the two-time America's Cup victor said.
But Oracle is still making mistakes, which Spithill acknowledged.
Race 6 was to follow.
"It makes life a little easier when you get off the start 14 seconds ahead", said Burling, who some thought would struggle when matching wits with two-time Cup victor Spithill. "We've been there before".
"It does remind me of San Francisco", Spithill said.
"From a sponsor's perspective, you don't have any certainty at all. the defender decides virtually everything", Jaguar Land Rover's Experiential Marketing Director Mark Cameron said on Friday of the firm's support for Britain's Land Rover BAR team, led by British sailor Ben Ainslie.
"They've got this history of innovation", Coutts said.
"We don't feel like we sailed anywhere near where we can". Then they got their lay-line to the bottom gate wrong (again) and tried to pull off a tight gybe, fell off the foils and parked the boat. We clearly just made too many mistakes today.
He said it was a great opportunity for the shore team to work on their boat. The Kiwis have had their share of mayhem this spring, including a capsize in the challenger semifinals.
"We didn't sail particularly well today but it was great to walk away with another win". "I don't think we sailed that well today, to be honest".
Burling, 26, bested Spithill in the pre-start of both races, and the U.S. couldn't recover either time.
To which Spithill responded, "It's just beginning, mate".
Forced to make up a big margin following that setback, Spithill was then penalised for drifting outside the course to effectively hand race eight to New Zealand.
The Kiwis would regain the lead, but Spithill came out better in two close passes on the fifth leg to gain an advantage he wouldn't surrender.
Underfunded Team New Zealand nearly folded after that debacle, but has bounced back with a remarkably fast boat design that includes a radical cycling grinding system. Spithill dipped underneath and both crews pushed the protest button. Spithill dipped underneath. Both boats pushed the protest button, and the umpires decided Spithill didn't give Burling enough room.
Races 7 and 8 are scheduled for Sunday.
But if the Kiwis win, the expectation is that it will move to Auckland, although there are also some suggestions that it could also be held in Dubai, where the main New Zealand sponsor Emirates Airline is based.