United prepared for NBL 'war' in Adelaide

Darren Snowdon
AAP

Melbourne United coach Dean Vickerman is counting on lessons learnt from last Sunday's defeat in Adelaide to propel his side to the NBL championship.

United were pushed all the way by the Adelaide 36ers on Friday night before taking out the fiery encounter 101-98 in Melbourne to move 2-1 up in the best-of-five series.

The result sees Melbourne United poised to claim their first NBL title if they take out Sunday's game four in Adelaide.

Vickerman will use the experience of a tough road loss in game two to make adjustments ahead of what is sure to be a hostile environment at Adelaide Arena.

"We know how different game two was compared to game one and we know what they're going to bring," he said.

Simmering tensions between the teams finally boiled over on Friday with Adelaide guard Nathan Sobey ejected following a clash of heads with Melbourne's Casey Prather at halftime.

While Vickerman did not see the Sobey incident unfold, he was initially worried about his players potentially storming the court during play.

"I saw everybody from our bench in there and I thought 'oh, that's normally trouble' but the buzzer had gone and so our boys were just taking care of each other," he said.

"We didn't know as a group until we came back out (for the second half) that Sobey had been ejected.

"A tough one for him but, you know, we'll take it.

"Whatever it takes to get a win in this series - it's a battle, it's a war."

The game review panel laid 14 charges on Saturday but both teams should have full rosters for game four.

The review found that Prather had headbutted each other in the same incident, while Melbourne forward Tai Wesley was deemed to have headbutted Sobey earlier in the match.

All three players can have their one-game bans reverted to $1000 fines with early guilty pleas.

Melbourne were fined $1125 after import Carrick Felix - who is not playing in the finals - was charged for two post-match incidents.

Felix was banned from sitting on the Melbourne United team bench for the remainder of the grand final series and from entering the playing area at any stage during matches.

Sixers reserve Majok Deng narrowly missed a three-pointer in the final seconds on Friday that would have forced game three into overtime.

"We stretched that thing to 13 (points) with five to go and we were playing really good basketball," Vickerman said.

"In that last five minutes, I think we only scored five points."

Casper Ware finished with 25 points to lead all scorers with his relentless attack on the basket helping United take command early in the contest.

The all-NBL point guard will look to produce a repeat performance in Adelaide on Sunday.

"I feel like last time we were there, we didn't come out with enough energy to play away in that building," Ware said.