Melbourne United have opened the NBL grand final series with an impressive 107-96 victory over the Adelaide 36ers.
The minor premiers recovered from an injury scare to all-NBL guard Casper Ware to dominate the second half at Hisense Arena and take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five championship series.
Ware injured his left hip after a first-quarter collision with Adelaide centre Matt Hodgson and sat out the rest of a hotly-contested first half.
The home side managed to slow Adelaide's offence in the second quarter to take a 53-47 lead into halftime and Chris Goulding scored 13 of his game-high 26 points in the third quarter to swing the game United's way.
Adelaide tried valiantly to fight back in the final quarter but Ware shut the door on the 36ers with three long-range bombs on his way to a 20-point night.
Centre Josh Boone added 17 points and seven offensive rebounds while Casey Prather added 13.
Adelaide had six players finish in double figures with Daniel Johnson (18 points) and Mitch Creek (14 points and nine rebounds) leading the way.
But they could not match United's outside shooting as the home side nailed 13 three-pointers to Adelaide's two.
Melbourne flew out of the blocks with a 7-0 start and led by six at the main break.
Johnson and Josh Childress gave Adelaide a boost in the third quarter as they took an early lead, but then United veteran David Barlow hit a triple and Goulding reeled off eight points as Melbourne surged to a 79-71 edge after three quarters before going on to victory.
Melbourne coach Dean Vickerman credited his team's ability to close out the first half without their star import as being crucial in the victory.
"Obviously with Casper going down, there was a small adjustment period about how we run things offensively," Vickerman said.
"Then we kind of figured it out and let (the ball) move."
Adelaide coach Joey Wright was disappointed with the effort from his team after the match, especially the way they defended the three-point line.
"For a grand final game, we shouldn't be talking to guys about energy levels," Wright said.
"We had too many conversations about it (tonight) ... we haven't had those type of conversations in the last month."
Adelaide will host game two on Sunday before the series returns to Melbourne next Friday for game three.