Coach Trevor Gleeson believes referees robbed his Perth Wildcats of the chance to win the NBL championship on Friday night.
The Adelaide 36ers banked a five-point win against the Wildcats in game two of the grand final series to set up a title-deciding game three in Perth on Sunday.
An irate Gleeson called for the referees to be changed for the defining championship match, blasting their Friday night performance.
Gleeson believed 36ers’ coach Joey Wright exerted undue influence over the referees during Adelaide’s 89-84 home-court triumph.
“I thought Joey was out there refereeing,” Gleeson said post-match.
“All we ask for is that the referees be consistent.
“But if I have to go publicly like Adelaide did and start going like that to get the referees’ benefit of the calls, we’re in a bad shape as a league.
“All you ask is a fair game, called both the same ways … the referee shouldn’t have that much influence on the game.”
Gleeson was furious at what he called a refereeing blunder when the Wildcats were three points down with 24 seconds remaining.
“Jermaine (Beal) is going for the ball with (Adelaide’s) Daniel Johnson,” he said.
“A white hand, against a black guy, and a white hand touched the ball out.
“The referee was right there and couldn’t make the call. I find that flabbergasting.
“It came down to that … we had to foul out, they go to the line, knock two down.
“So it was disappointing the game is being put in the referee’s hands like that.
“The referees’ advisor, I’ll talk to him and hopefully there’s a change up with the personnel (for game three).”
Both teams will fly to Perth on Saturday, with Adelaide’s Wright believing that fact presented a true test for the championship.
“If you’re trying to decide who is the best team, that is how you do it,” Wright said.
“We’re both under the same restraints. We both have to fly back and play a game. It’s a good way to find out who the toughest team is.”