Adam Gibson during the Bullets’ loss to Cairns Taipans. Picture: Getty
Adam Gibson during the Bullets’ loss to Cairns Taipans. Picture: Getty

Equation that can save Bullets’ NBL finals dream

BRISBANE still have a shot at the NBL finals after former Bullets player Chris Goulding did his old club a favour by helping Melbourne to a nail-biting win over Adelaide at the weekend.

If the 36ers had beaten the reigning champions in Adelaide, the Bullets would have been dumped out of the running for a top-four berth.

The Bullets now need Perth to beat Adelaide in Perth this Friday night to set up their own "win and you are in" clash with New Zealand at Southbank on Saturday night.

If both results go Brisbane's way, the Bullets and 36ers will both finish the regular season with 14-14 records.

Brisbane already have a better overall percentage than Adelaide and would proceed.

Melbourne's star trio of Goulding (16 points), Casper Ware (20 points, six assists) and Josh Boone (10 points, 15 rebounds) combined to overcome a 10-point second quarter deficit and get United home in a high-octane thriller.

Goulding hit a jumpshot to tie the scores, then his drive to the hoop gave United the lead in the closing stages of Sunday's game.

Bullets players and staff watched the final few minutes huddled around a mobile phone at the baggage carousel at Brisbane Airport after they had arrived home from Cairns.

Chris Goulding shoots. Picture: Getty
Chris Goulding shoots. Picture: Getty

They were in the air while a majority of the Adelaide-Melbourne match was in progress so they were spared the stress of watching the 36ers hold the lead for a vast majority of the rematch between last season's grand finalists.

Bullets coach Andrej Lemanis was a relieved man after seeing Melbourne pip Adelaide 89-87.

"There were a few more smiles and springs in the step as we left the airport, that's for sure,'' he said.

"We needed that result to go our way to keep us in contention for the play-offs which is what we have been setting ourselves for all season as a team.

"To have your fate in someone else's hands is always a tough situation but we are still alive.''

Brisbane could be eliminated from the playoff race before they get to take on the Breakers if the 36ers rebound and upset the Wildcats.

Coach Andrej Lemanis lays down the law to his side. Picture: Getty
Coach Andrej Lemanis lays down the law to his side. Picture: Getty

Lemanis said all his side could do was prepare as though their season will still be live this Saturday night.

Righting the wrongs from a disappointing 79-68 loss to Cairns on Saturday afternoon will be a priority.

"Hopefully we don't shoot it the same way. I'm not sure if there was an anxiousness to it. We had a lot of good open looks,'' Lemanis said.

"At times we got a little bit tense and perhaps tried to force stuff.

"But we are still in it which should make for a good week of practice so we can be fully primed and ready to go.''

THE FINALS EQUATION

For the Brisbane Bullets to make the NBL finals:

- Perth need to beat Adelaide in Perth this Friday night.

AND

- Brisbane need to beat New Zealand in Brisbane this Saturday night.

That will lock Brisbane and Adelaide together at 14 wins and 14 losses apiece.

The team with the highest overall percentage progresses to the play-offs.

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News Corp Australia


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