Coach Dean Vickerman revealed online abuse directed at Melbourne United following their game-one NBL semifinal loss to Sydney helped fuel their record-breaking performance in game two.
After outplaying the minor premiers for the majority of Saturday's series opener in Sydney, Melbourne collapsed in the final minutes as Sydney closed with a 24-2 flurry for the 86-80 victory.
United players and staff were bombarded with a torrent of online vitriol in the aftermath, leaving Vickerman unable to hold back his frustration on Monday night despite the euphoria surrounding their emphatic 125-80 win at Melbourne Arena.
"There was a lot of hate out there for whatever reason - it was a basketball game," Vickerman said about the response to their game-one fade-out.
"We had people getting hit up on social media, it's a crazy world right now and it made us come together a little bit more as a group."
While import Melo Trimble and other teammates were targeted with a series of abusive messages, Vickerman also revealed it was not just the players in the firing line.
"It was the first time my phone got hit up with five or six messages and I was like 'wow', we played a really good basketball game for 35 minutes," he said.
"I don't know if it was gamblers hitting up our phones or what it is but it's just ugly - it was a tough day yesterday for a few guys."
Melbourne responded to the online hatred in the best possible way by blasting Sydney off the court with the 45-point result the largest winning margin in the league's 40-minute game era.
"The group was tight when we came into shootaround this morning and they just had a real calmness but a focus around us," Vickerman said.
"I loved the way that they played defence together today to hold a team to seven points (in the second quarter) and to help each other like that, it's what we've striving all season for to get there."
Vickerman described the good feeling around the group after finding their best form at the back end of a rollercoaster season.
"Now we're starting to really trust and believe in each other and that's real scary when this group can do that."
United now prepare for Thursday night's semifinal decider at Sydney's Qudos Bank Arena knowing they have a tough assignment to win on the road in order to clinch a grand final berth.
"We understand that but we believe we are playing the right way and we give ourselves a good chance," he said.