The NBL finals have given basketball fans their money’s worth, as the series moves to a deciding game five after the Adelaide 36ers managed to take game four 90 – 81 at Titanium Security Stadium.
The season now comes down to a lifespan of forty minutes, barring a tie in regulation that necessitates extra time.
Fans will have plenty of time to prepare for the final showdown, as it will be played Saturday night on Melbourne United’s home court.
Hopefully, this Adelaide side will not experience a fate similar to that experienced by the Crows in the 2017 AFL Grand Final, where playing in front of a partisan Richmond Tigers squad in the MCG proved too great a challenge for the Crows to surmount.
The 36ers had to call on all their reserves of talent and heart, as they escaped a cardiac arrest-inducing moment in the second half, where it looked as though United was going to take the victory.
The 36ers might have a slight edge in momentum going into the final game, but it is hard to conceive of that proving the decider when they have to play in Melbourne.
There were cricket match-worthy melees between the players at the half and at the conclusion of the game, so of late, it seems as though Aussie athletic thuggery is across all codes.
The series certainly has not lacked for controversy and entertainment value.
Adelaide’s Head Coach Joey Wright copped a hefty fine for questioning the integrity of the referees, something that, if he had been paying attention during Coaching 101, he would have known is the sure path to a raid on the old wallet.
The 36ers had a 24-point margin at the half, but as is typical for basketball teams at all levels, a big lead leads to complacency and the United squad closed the gap to a mere two baskets with three minutes remaining in the game.
Casey Prather added the much-needed stability for the 36ers, as he chases his third title in three years with Adelaide, scoring 23 points and grabbing six rebounds.