Tempers flare in United’s controversial win
MELBOURNE United has survived an edge-of-your-seat game 3 championship series thriller, denying Adelaide 36ers 101-98 at Hisense Arena.
United held a commanding lead deep in the last term but a clutch 36ers shooting run slashed the margin to two points with 20 seconds to play.
The Sixers eventually had the last shot of the game through Majok Deng, but his three-point attempt cannoned off the rim.
Tempers flared post-game when 36ers star Shannon Shorter confronted Casper Ware when the clock stuck zero, with verbals continuing midcourt.
Shorter had to be escorted off the court surrounded by teammates.
The game was not without controversy, the Sixers denied the loose ball despite Mitch Creek out-wrestling Chris Goulding on the hardwood.
It capped a contentious evening for the visitors who lost Nathan Sobey (ejected) following a bench-clearing melee.
Battered and bruised the 36ers were game in defeat, just days after star Josh Childress (shoulder) was ruled out for the rest of the series.
United started well but lost their way, and it allowed the 36ers to gain valuable momentum.
The crunch game went into overdrive at halftime when Casey Prather and Sobey went face-to-face, sparking a bench-clearing mid-court melee.
A review of the incident at halftime resulted in Sobey being disqualified for an attempted head-butt in retaliation to Prather, who got in the firebrandâ€™s face after splashing a three-point buzzer-beater.
Prather, who escaped any penalty due to a lack of video evidence, unnecessarily incited Sobey but the 36ers game-breaker took it a step further and it proved costly as United turned 53-point halftime deadlock into a six-point lead at the last change.
The series continues in Adelaide on Sunday with the 36ers needing to win to stay alive.