Adelaide coach Joey Wright said he could sense the tension building in his side's clash with the Perth Wildcats.
But he doesn't expect the fight that broke out in the dying second of the 36ers 111-90 loss to the Wildcats on Friday, to have any impact on the way his plays in the Sunday's return clash in Adelaide.
With less than one second to go at Perth Arena, Adelaide's Brendan Teys received a technical foul for the attention he showed Perth's development player Lochlan Cummings, as he drove to the basket.
After the ball dropped through the basket, Teys received some attention from the Wildcats players.
Pushing and shoving turned in to a brawl that included every player on the court and a few from the respective benches also.
Cats' Lucas Walker and Dexter Kernich-Drew and 36ers' Teys and Shannon Shorter were ejected from the game.
But Wright said he thought the incident could have been avoided.
"I knew it was going to come to that," he said.
"If we don't do a better job at protecting the obvious things, it's going to be like that every game and someone's going to get hurt.
"There were a lot of plays that ref should have cleaned that up earlier and it probably wouldn't get to that point."
So, Sunday's game becomes massive in terms of the season. Both teams are on 15 wins and in a fight, along with Melbourne (16) and New Zealand (14), for a top-two finish.
If Perth can repeat the dose on Sunday, the 36ers will fall a win behind them, with only three left to play.
And Wright said that should be enough to drive his team.
"There should be a lot of fire regardless, with two teams trying to position themselves for the play-offs; two teams that compete extremely hard," he said.
"Young players try to find reasons to play harder. If you can find reasons to play hard cause you're getting played a lot of money to play basketball in front of 15,000 people I don't know what else should inspire you."
The 36ers need to find something. After winning seven games on the trot, they have dropped the past two. Brisbane scored 95 points against them last week and Perth 111 on Friday.
And Wright admitted they need to get their defence right.
"You can't give up 100 points and expect to win," he said.
"It's a focus thing for us. It's not a technical thing. It's not as if they forgot to play defence."