The New Zealand Breakers and Perth Wildcats will contest the NBL grand final series.
Minor premiers Melbourne United fought valiantly in their semi-final series against the Breakers but were no match for the defending champions, losing 2-0.
The Breakers came out firing in the first game of the series, running up a 17-point lead before United mounted a solid comeback to take the lead at the half off the back of a spectacular Chris Goulding spectacular display on the perimeter. Goulding nailed three after three to close the gap. But the momentum was short-lived. From there it was downhill for United: a series of mistakes brought about their demise as the Breakers capitalised and ran away to a nine-point victory (91-82). Cedric Jackson was the stand out for the Breakers with 20 points. Hakim Warrick was solid in defence for United with 13 rebounds.
Game followed the same pattern, the Breakers taking an early lead at home before United staged another comeback. Despite leading at the half United buckled under the pressure from the experienced Kiwi outfit which finishing the game with a 13-point win (91-78) and a clean sweep of the series.
The Perth Wildcats continued their dominance in the franchise, booking a spot in the grand final by putting away MVP Kevin Lisch and the Illawarra Hawks 2-1 in the semi-finals series. Despite dropping game two, the Wildcats were all class, leading the stats sheet at both ends for much of the series. Damian Martin was key in defence while Jermaine Beal and Casey Prather made it look easy with top scores in each of the games.
The grand final series kicks off in Perth on Wednesday, March 2, at Perth Arena. Tip-off at 6.30pm. – Emma Challands
Photo of Perth Wildcats v Illawarra Hawks from the Perth Wildcats Twitter page.