36ers win thriller against Melbourne United

The Adelaide 36ers have charged home in the fourth quarter to defeat Melbourne United 103-101 in the NBL's Boxing Day clash.

Melbourne took a seven-point lead into the final quarter but the visitors stunned the capacity crowd at Melbourne Arena on Wednesday night with a 20-5 start to the final quarter before holding on in the final seconds.

United point guard Casper Ware missed a potential game-winning three-pointer with eight seconds left in the match and Adelaide dribbled out the clock to win their third successive game.

"I think we've been showing some signs of coming together and playing some good basketball," Adelaide coach Joey Wright said after the victory.

"I thought our guys executed down the stretch when they needed to and we got stops when we needed to."

The win sees the Sixers improve to 8-8 on the season as they inch closer to the fourth-placed Brisbane Bullets on the ladder.

Six Adelaide players finished in double figures with Jacob Wiley and Ramone Moore each scoring 18 and Demitrius Conger adding 15.

The Sixers made 71 percent of their shots in the first quarter to build a 30-22 advantage then withheld United's challenge in the second to go into halftime ahead 56-53.

Behind Chris Goulding's 10 third-quarter points, Melbourne outscored Adelaide 29-19 to lead by seven heading into the final quarter.

But Adelaide ramped up the defensive pressure to jump ahead and survived United's late comeback to score a valuable away win.

Melbourne coach Dean Vickerman felt his side weren't able to stay locked in for the whole match and paid for it at the end.

"We get up seven (in the third quarter) and we just have two live turnovers in a row where we've played good defence," Vickerman said.

'That deflated us a little bit I thought and then we couldn't get a stop at the start of that fourth quarter."

Ware led all scorers with 26 points while Goulding finished with 16.

It only took six seconds for Ware to open the scoring from long distance but Conger kept Adelaide in touch before Majok Deng's late surge handed the visitors an eight-point lead after the first quarter.

United closed the gap to two points early in the second term but Adelaide restored their advantage behind Wiley's alley-oop finish and Deng's four-point play.

Down by 10 approaching halftime, Ware and Alex Pledger found their shooting touch as United reduced the margin to three points at the main break.

After a tight opening to the third stanza, Melbourne reeled off six straight points to reclaim the lead before a late baseline jumper from Craig Moller put them ahead 82-75.