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Sixers 'fight' back to smash Tigers

By Chris Pike
16 February 2014 05:05PM EST

THE Adelaide 36ers put behind them the wild post-match scenes from Friday night in Perth to beat the Melbourne Tigers on Sunday to go a long way to sewing up second spot in the NBL.

Adelaide lost almost any chance of finishing on top of the NBL table come the end of the season with a crushing 24-point defeat to the Wildcats at the Perth Arena on Friday night, but that was the last thing that game has been focused on for.

Post-match, wild scenes ensued when players and coaching staff from both the Wildcats and 36ers became embroiled in two separate scuffles that are now being investigated by the NBL, but the Sixers had to quickly refocus on taking on the Tigers at Hisense Arena on Sunday.

A loss for Adelaide to Melbourne could very well have seen the 36ers end up dropping to third position come finals time and giving up home-court advantage in the semi-finals in the process so it was a massive game to need to turn its attention to.

Not only had the 36ers lost in Perth on Friday, but they had lost their last two matches by a combined 46 points on the back of winning just three of the last seven games to put their top-two spot on the ladder in serious jeopardy.

Meanwhile, Melbourne was coming off a 24-point loss at home to the Wildcats as well before a week off last weekend so if the Tigers wanted to stay in touch for a top-two spot, they needed to bounce back at Hisense Arena on Sunday.

However, the 36ers took control of the contest in the second quarter opening up a 53-41 lead and then never being headed in the second half running out emphatic 99-82 victors.

The win improves Adelaide to a 14-8 record on the season to still be well behind the 17-6 Wildcats but well ahead now of the third-placed Tigers who fell to 12-10 having now lost at home to the top-two teams over their last two matches.

Adelaide completely dominated all areas on Sunday finishing with 43 rebounds to Melbourne's 30, 36 points in the paint to 28 and shooting 51 per cent from the field and 45 from three-point range while the Tigers shot just 38 per cent both from the floor and beyond the arc.

Sixers point guard Gary Ervin led the way on the afternoon finishing with 25 points and eight assists on the back of shooting 9-of-12 from the field.

Big man Daniel Johnson added 24 points and 11 rebounds against his former team while hitting an impressive 4-of-5 from three-point land.

Captain Adam Gibson finished with 14 points, nine rebounds and six assists as well while Anthony Petrie scored 12 points and Luke Schenscher 10.

Melbourne import Mustapha Farrakhan top-scored for the Tigers with 19 points with Scott Morrison finishing with 15 points, Chris Goulding 14, Mark Worthington 13 and Tommy Greer 12 while point guard Nate Tomlinson contributed five points, 10 rebounds and six assists.

The Sydney Kings, meanwhile are only narrowly holding onto fourth spot with a 10-10 record after being thumped by the resurgent Wollongong Hawks at the Sydney Entertainment Centre on Saturday night.

The Hawks romped to a 102-84 victory on the back of a massive 39 points from import guard Rotnei Clarke.

The win is Wollongong's third straight on the back of a four-game losing slide with the Hawks now improving to a 9-13 record to be right back into contention of snatching Sydney's fourth position.

The three-time defending NBL champion New Zealand Breakers are also back in the hunt for a finals spot at 9-12 following a thumping win of the Cairns Taipans on Friday night at Vector Arena.

Cairns and Townsville occupy the bottom two spots on the NBL ladder with the Taipans on a 9-14 record and the Crocodiles 7-14.

Round 19 of the NBL begins with three huge games on Friday night with the Wollongong Hawks hosting the New Zealand Breakers, the Cairns Taipans hosting the Sydney Kings and the Perth Wildcats battling the Melbourne Tigers at Perth Arena.

Saturday night will see the Townsville Crocodiles take on the Sydney Kings at The Swamp before the Adelaide 36ers host the New Zealand Breakers on Sunday afternoon.

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