The new-look Adelaide 36ers kicked off their NBL season with a confidence-boosting 84-61 victory over the Melbourne Tigers in a fiery contest at Adelaide Arena on Sunday.
Daniel Johnson was the 36ers' best with 21 points and nine rebounds while Stephen Weigh added 21 points at an impressive 67 per cent.
Anthony Petrie was in good touch with 13 points before his game ended prematurely.
For the Tigers, Seth Scott collected 17 points while Kevin Braswell and Lucas Walker chimed in with 11 each.
Tempers reached boiling point late in the third quarter when a solid challenge on Mitch Creek left him on his backside and sparked a 10-man tussle.
The referees struggled to separate the angry-mass of arms and legs and then infuriated the crowd by ejecting Petrie, along with Melbourne's Chris Goulding, for his part in the scrap.
Adelaide coach Marty Clarke wasn't worried about the third-quarter fight.
"I wouldn't mind if I saw it every week, and it's clearly why certain guys were brought to the club because it's something we haven't really been able to manufacture in the last couple of years," he said.
"It's a care factor, it's a guy sticking up for his mate and all those great Australian things."
Clarke was disappointed to give up 41 points in the first half but happy with how the team finished.
"Once we closed the gap on some of their shooters and made it more difficult for them to get the ball where they wanted it to - it resulted in a 20-point second half (for Melbourne) and a five-point last quarter," he said.
Melbourne coach Chris Anstey says the second half "was unacceptable in almost every single way".
"We didn't execute, we didn't play defence, we allowed them to run over the top of us," he said.
"We went away from what we are good at, we took shortcuts.
"The last quarter we scored five points. We were individual, we didn't get good looks, we didn't trust the system and it got shown up."
Melbourne got off to a bright start with Scott nailing his shots, and the visitors' defence was making life difficult in the Sixers' key. Adelaide rallied late but a Walker dunk with seconds left on the clock put Melbourne in front by a point.
Both teams showcased their outside game early in the second, the 36ers edging in front thanks a hat-trick of three-pointers. Walker proved the go-to man for the Tigers again, his late shot from outside the arc pegging the margin back to 44-41 at half-time.
Adam Gibson increased his influence on the game in the third quarter and the home side took control thanks to a shared scoring load and a spectacular dunk by Creek.
Despite the disruption of Petrie's ejection the Sixers went into the final change leading by nine points and charged home with a 19-5 fourth quarter.
It was a disappointing conclusion for Melbourne, who fought hard for three quarters but dropped away from their game plan when a response was needed.
Adelaide 36ers 84 (Johnson 21, Weigh 21, Petrie 13)
Melbourne Tigers 61 (Scott 17, Walker 11, Braswell 11)
Crowd: 3988 at Adelaide Arena