Tigers book place in NBL grand final - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Tigers book place in NBL grand final

By James Dampney 17/02/2006 12:10:39 AM Comments (0)

The Melbourne Tigers reached their first grand final since 1997 and ended Perth's fairytale playoff run with a thrilling 106-101 overtime victory at Challenge Stadium to sweep the NBL semi-final series 2-0.

Tigers import Dave Thomas, who had just three points to three-quarter-time, lit up in the fourth quarter and overtime to finish with 18 points for the Tigers.

MVP candidate Chris Anstey led Melbourne with 29 points, including 5-of-8 from three-point range, to steer the visitors into the best-of-five grand final series, where they will face Sydney or Cairns.

Diminutive point guard David Bailey had a game-high 30 points for the home side and Matt Burston added 17, but Perth was unable to force a deciding third game.

Former Cats import Rashad Tucker had a chance to win the game in regulation after he was fouled with 2.1 seconds remaining and the scores locked at 92-92.

But Tucker, dumped by the Wildcats midway through last season after disciplinary problems, missed both from the charity stripe as the home crowd erupted.

Stephen Hoare then snared the board and put up an off-balance shot as time expired that clanged off the back of the rim, forcing overtime.

The locals were rocking heading into the extra period, but Thomas took over down the stretch to end Perth's surprising post-season run.

Ranked seventh heading into the finals, Perth had to win consecutive elimination playoff games in Brisbane and Wollongong just to reach the semi-finals.

The Tigers then comfortably won game one and were clear favourites in the first playoff game in Perth since the Cats' losing grand final to Sydney in 2003.

The Wildcats played out of their skin, but ultimately the class of the Tigers prevailed and they will be hard to stop in the grand final.

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