Sport Basketball Adelaide 36ers beat Melbourne United to force NBL game five decider

Adelaide 36ers beat Melbourne United to force NBL game five decider

Shannon Shorter
Shannon Shorter was one of Adelaide's best players as the 36ers produced a sensational first half against Melbourne United. Photo: AAP
Twitter Facebook Reddit Pinterest Email

Adelaide has held on for a remarkable nine-point victory against Melbourne in game four of the best-of-five grand final series at Adelaide Arena.

The series is now two-all with game five to be played in Melbourne on Saturday.

In front of a packed stadium, Adelaide came out firing in the first quarter with Nathan Sobey, Shannon Shorter, Mitch Creek, Daniel Johnson and Majok Deng all starting strongly.

The 36ers were up by eight points at the first break, Melbourne’s Casper Ware and David Andersen, though, kept United in the contest.

Creek ended up in the front row of the crowd chasing a loose ball, while Johnson kept playing aggressively as Melbourne repeatedly picked up fouls and missed shots.

Adelaide had 33 free throws for the first half, while Melbourne had just one, with the 36ers also dominating the boards.

United’s Chris Goulding hit his first points late in the second quarter but Adelaide pushed ahead, taking the lead out to 24 points and a 55-31 half-time lead.

Adelaide celebrates
Adelaide celebrates after levelling the NBL grand final series at 2-2 in front of a crowd of nearly 8000 in Adelaide. Photo: AAP

Melbourne started playing better defence with Tai Wesley a factor for United, although Casey Prather and Ware picked up their third fouls.

Deng kept dropping big shots for Adelaide, but United hit back to cut the lead to 13 points at the final break.

Prather started to dominate, putting Melbourne to within seven points with seven minutes to play.

An offensive foul called on Ramone Moore had the local crowd on their feet as Adelaide went cold and the lead was cut to four.

Creek missed two free throws as the game tightened, with Wesley then fouling out for Melbourne.

Moore and Prather dominated the final quarter for their teams and Sobey then hit two crucial foul shots with the 36ers up by seven with 90 seconds to go.

Adelaide’s Johnson and Melbourne’s Goulding both hit massive threes in the final minute.

Melbourne’s Josh Boone and David Barlow then both fouled out as Adelaide held on to win by nine points, 90-81.

Creek said the team could not wait for game five.

“We have every chance to win this thing and we believe it,” he said.

“We have goose bumps thinking about it because we know how close we are, so game five is going to be really interesting.”

Johnson top-scored for Adelaide with 21 points, while Sobey had 16 and Shorter 14.

Prather hit 23 points for Melbourne, Goulding 15 and Ware 13.