By Marcus Wilson, Pagemasters
The Melbourne Tigers have balanced their win-loss ledger after over-running the Adelaide 36ers 84-71 at Adelaide Arena on Sunday.
Melbourne overcame early foul trouble and a lean first half to out-score the Sixers 47-23 after the break and record their 10th win of the season.
A strong first half from Adam Ballinger netted 18 points against his old club, Chris Goulding scored most of his 16 points when the match was up for grabs while Liam Rush was next best with 15.
Daniel Johnson finished with 20 points, 12 boards and four steals but managed just five points after the break, Stephen Weigh was next best with 14 while Adam Gibson and Luke Schenscher scored 10 points each.
"That second half was a hell of a half, I thought our guys stepped up their game at both ends of the floor," Tigers coach Chris Anstey said.
"That second half if the team we can be and that second half is good enough to be competitive with anyone."
It was a spectacular opening for Melbourne with Seth Scott (14 points, 11 rebounds) throwing down arguably the dunk of the season over Luke Schenscher.
But disaster struck soon after with Scott collecting his third personal foul and Jonny Flynn doing likewise a short time later.
Flynn made some dramatic hand gestures as he took a premature spell on the bench with his frustration delighting the Sixers crowd.
The home side took a 28-22 lead into quarter time but it could've been more, given they only made 7-of-16 from the foul line.
The second term was a tight tussle with the Tigers stringing together some efficient plays while a no-fuss Adam Ballinger quietly moved into double digits on the scoreboard.
Johnson got the crowd involved again with an intercept and dunk late in the term giving the Sixers' momentum and a 48-37 lead at half-time.
The Tigers brought Scott and Flynn back into the action in the third term and immediately the visitors were a more intense unit on the court, and after eight minutes of the second half Melbourne had claimed the lead through a tough Goulding drive.
A trademark triple followed soon after and Goulding had nine points for the term to lead his side to a 63-59 advantage with 10 minutes to play.
Adelaide's hopes of victory started to fade when the Tigers pushed their buffer out to eight half-way through the final quarter.
The scoreboard pressure got to the home side who struggled for consistency while every Tigers basket prompted fist pumping and celebrating from their excited bench.
Anstey said the way Scott and Flynn “were annoyed on the bench” with three fouls because “they thought they had let their team down".
"They vented a little bit on the bench, got it out of their system …they knew what had to be done in the second half and went out and did it."
Sixers coach Marty Clarke says his team struggled after a promising first half.
"No doubt in the second half they were much more physical - they did to us in the second half like we did to them in the first half," he said.
"There was lots of good stuff early on. Unfortunately we just weren't able to maintain that momentum, that physicality."
Melbourne Tigers 84 (Ballinger 18, Goulding 16, Rush 15)
Adelaide 36ers 71 (Johnson 20, Weight 14, Gibson 10)
Crowd: 5055 at Adelaide Arena