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NBL 2013/14: SF Game 1 - Sixers run over Tigers
Credit: The Pick and Roll
Adelaide are a win away from making the NBL grand final series after a come-from-behind 101-85 win over a fast-starting Melbourne Tigers side at the Adelaide Arena.
The Tigers piled on 26 points in the first six minutes to take a ten-point advantage on the back of a red-hot Chris Goulding (20 points), before the Sixers hit back hard by rattling off 15 unanswered points to take a lead into the first break.
Goulding wouldn’t add to his 13 early points until after the main break as the injection of late-season signing Rhys Carter (17 points, 5-9 3PT) sparked the home side, who gradually got on top of Melbourne and looked in control for much of the final 25 minutes of play.
Gary Ervin (27 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists) was exceptional after a quiet start to the night, netting 20 second half points as the 36ers built a big double-digit lead early in the fourth term.
The Tigers rallied as Goulding and Mark Worthington (11 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists) found another gear momentarily, with an unsportsmanlike foul against Adelaide captain Adam Gibson handing the momentum back to the visitors midway through the final term.
The home side wouldn’t be denied, however, as Adelaide finished off strongly, with a Carter dagger extending the lead to 15 with four minutes on the clock and ending Melbourne’s hopes of an upset.
The Sixers were incredible from the perimeter all night, nailing 15-of-31 at 48% and shooting 53% from the field overall in what was the main difference in an otherwise tight contest.
Despite a quiet game by his lofty standards, superstar Daniel Johnson (15 points, 7 rebounds) was able to hit key shots as the Tigers challenged, with the big man nailing three big triples to keep the opposition at bay throughout the match.
Adam Ballinger (15 points, 7-9 FG) gave the Tigers good minutes off the bench while second-year point guard Nate Tomlinson was superb all night in finishing with 12 points and 12 assists, but was ultimately outgunned by the electric and much more experienced Ervin.
The Melbourne guard also suffered a leg injury late in the match, casting some doubt over his place in the must-win game two on Sunday.
Adelaide 36ers 101 (Ervin 27, Carter 17, Johnson 15) Melbourne Tigers 85 (Goulding 20, Ballinger 15, Walker 13) Attendance: 3,865 @ Adelaide Arena