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19 Feb 2018 9:18
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  •   Home > News > Sports > Basketball

    Play-off teams decided in fiery NBL round

    The NBL's semi-finalists are locked in but the race to the play-offs turned nasty with suspensions, fines issued after spiteful clash in Perth.

    The top four contenders for the NBL championship have been determined but the fight for home-court advantage in the play-offs is set to go down to the wire.

    The New Zealand Breakers will join Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth in the post-season after scoring back-to-back wins for the round, ending the play-off hopes for the Illawarra Hawks and Cairns Taipans in the process.

    But the biggest talking point came on Friday night as one of the league's fiercest rivalries produced another explosive chapter when Perth and Adelaide players were involved in a melee in the dying stages of the Wildcats' 111-90 win.

    The NBL announced a list of charges on Sunday stemming from the incident, with Adelaide's Brendan Teys and Perth's Dexter Kernich-Drew suspended for two games for unduly rough play and no possibility of a reduced ban with an early plea.

    Shannon Shorter (Adelaide) and Lucas Walker (Perth) were fined $500 each for leaving their benches during the same incident, and eight players were also fined $500 for engaging in a melee.

    Perth coach Trevor Gleeson was disappointed with the incident after Friday's win but expected the ill-feeling would not flow over into Sunday's rematch between the teams in Adelaide.

    "I think in the last three or four minutes it went overboard," Gleeson said.

    "There were niggles there all the way through and we've got to be a little bit smarter as well. I guess we will see on Sunday."

    While there was no repeat of Friday's stoush in the return bout, the 36ers extracted some revenge with a dominant 94-82 win that saw them climb into third spot on the ladder, with matches against Illawarra and Brisbane to come.

    Illawarra needed to defeat New Zealand twice over three days in order to stay in the play-off race but suffered a major blow on Friday night when the Breakers escaped with a 77-73 result on the Hawks' home floor.

    The Breakers then repeated the dose in Auckland on Sunday with a tight 88-84 win to end Illawarra's season and climb into second place on the ladder.

    Melbourne remain in the box seat to earn home-court advantage throughout the finals series after moving two wins clear of the pack following a scrappy 69-61 victory against the Brisbane Bullets on Saturday afternoon.

    United face a pivotal home-and-away series with the Breakers - the only team they have yet to beat this season - that will go a long way to determining the minor premiership.

    The Sydney Kings continued their late-season revival with a 93-86 road win against Cairns Taipans on Saturday night, with Jerome Randle scoring 24 points as the bottom-placed Kings won their third match in four starts.


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