Adelaide pip Brisbane in overtime
Photo Source: AAP
The Adelaide 36ers have dealt the Brisbane Bullets their first defeat upon their return to the NBL with a thrilling 96-93 overtime victory on Sunday night.
The Bullets led at every change but Adelaide came from 10 points down early in the fourth quarter in Brisbane to force extra-time.
Adelaide's experience shone through when it counted in front of 3,500 parochial fans at the Brisbane Convention Centre, who witnessed former Chicago Bulls forward Cameron Bairstow make his first appearance for the Bullets after returning to the court from a dislocated shoulder suffered at the Rio Olympics.
Bairstow made an encouraging return with 15 points and seven rebounds, although Torrey Craig and Jermaine Beal led the way for the Bullets with 22 and 21 points respectively.
Adelaide guard Jerome Randle was the star though, dominating throughout the final quarter and in overtime, finishing with 34 points for the visitors who are now 2-2 to begin the season.
Bullets coach Andrej Lemanis lamented his side's lack of offensive cohesion in the dying minutes of the contest as Adelaide stepped up their defensive intensity.
"What cost us was a lack of urgency on the defensive end when we got that lead and they came charging at us and we gave up too many easy scores," Lemanis said.
"This is a symptom of a team that is brand new and hasn't played together much yet. We struggled to find consistency in what plays we were going to run when we needed a basket or to settle the game down.
"We played too flustered and frantic rather than let the ball do some work."
Brisbane edged the 36ers 23-21 at quarter-time after a three-pointer in the dying seconds by Bairstow, who started from the bench.
The game was at a frenzied pace in the second, but Adelaide started to miss their chances as the quarter wore on and Brisbane took advantage.
The Bullets dominated around the paint with Bairstow and centre Tom Jervis hitting double digits in the first half to guide Brisbane into a 48-38 half-time lead.
Adelaide made a bright start following the main break, going on an 11-4 run to begin the third quarter before the Bullets stopped the rot with a timeout.
The contest tightened towards the back end of the quarter as Randle continued to find the ring with 10 third-quarter points which saw the visitors behind by only five heading into the final stretch.
The 36ers continued to chip away at the deficit, finally managing to level the scoreboard with 30 seconds remaining.