Melbourne United are guaranteed to finish on top of the NBL ladder after defeating the New Zealand Breakers twice in three days but the battle for second place will go down to the final round of the regular season.
United secured the minor premiership by following up Friday night's 89-83 home win over the Breakers with an emphatic 100-82 result on the road, their first win in New Zealand, to earn home-court advantage throughout next month's play-offs.
The home side led by eight early in the second quarter but United reeled off nine answered points and surged to victory behind 14-of-27 shooting from beyond the arc, guard Chris Goulding hitting four triples in his team-high 21 points.
"It means something for us ... obviously it hasn't been a great winning percentage for the club," Melbourne coach Dean Vickerman said after breaking their New Zealand hoodoo on the way to claiming the minor premiership.
"To split the season series (two games each) with them, I think that's important for our confidence."
The Breakers fall to fourth spot with their hopes of home-court advantage in the semi-finals dependent on beating the Illawarra Hawks and an in-form Sydney Kings in the final round.
The Adelaide 36ers took sole possession of second spot after crushing the Hawks in the final quarter to win 111-87 in Wollongong on Sunday afternoon, with centre Daniel Johnson pacing Adelaide with 21 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
The 36ers can lock in a top-two finish with victory over the Brisbane Bullets in Adelaide on Saturday afternoon.
Perth's quest for a top-two finish hit a major hurdle on Friday night after suffering a shock home loss to the Cairns Taipans.
The defending champions could not contain the Taipans' outside shooters as the visitors drained 17 three-pointers with captain Cam Gliddon's fifth triple with 27 seconds to go, securing the upset 85-83 victory.
The loss leaves the third-placed Wildcats the unenviable task of snapping United's seven-match home winning streak on Friday night then defeating Cairns on Sunday to have any chance of pinching home-court advantage for the best-of-three semi-final series.
The Sydney Kings' late-season resurgence continued on Saturday afternoon after defeating the Brisbane Bullets 92-80 for their fourth win in five matches.
Brisbane recorded a 99-91 home win over the Illawarra Hawks on Thursday night, despite the shock release of leading scorer Perrin Buford, but Saturday's loss sees the Kings join the Bullets on nine wins with the two teams facing off in Brisbane on Thursday night as they battle to avoid the wooden spoon.
Sydney centre Isaac Humphries will sit out the final round of the season after the promising young centre suffered an injury to his right eye during the win against Brisbane.
Australian Associated Press