The Sydney Kings will ask the NBL to explain a contentious late call on their star Casper Ware after their 87-86 season-opening loss to Cairns Taipans.
Trailing by a point in Saturday's closely-fought clash, Ware was fouled by Taipans gun Scott Machado in the dying moments but after a review officials decided it was not in the act of shooting.
It meant the Kings guard was denied what could have been a match-winning trip to the charity stripe.
Despite being denied free throws, Ware still got a chance to ice the result after play restarted with the Kings in possession and just three seconds left on the clock.
Yet the Sydney star missed a three-pointer as the full-time buzzer sounded.
It was a gutsy effort against 2020 semi-finalists Cairns by the Kings, last season's minor premiers who appear to remain a title threat despite huge off-season changes.
Superstar Jae'Sean Tate and coach Will Weaver left last season's grand finalists for the NBA, Boomers great Andrew Bogut and Kevin Lisch both retired while Xavier Cooks (ankle) is expected to endure an extended period sidelined.
Yet Sydney's new mentor Adam Forde still wondered what might have been despite their spirited display in a high intensity clash at the Cairns Pop-Up Arena in which they led at every break.
"I know they reviewed it so they have got their reasons but I would need to be further educated in that area to tell the difference between what is in the act of shooting and what stays on the ground - I will seek advice from the NBL on that one," he said of the late Ware call.
"We looked at it a couple of times that's why I feel confident now that I would like to go to the NBL and find out how that call is managed.
There were other areas that were the difference in the game, it is just disappointing."
Ware had 18 points with assistance off the bench from Dejan Vasiljevic (15 points) and Brad Newley (14 points) while former NBA first-round pick Jarell Martin (11 points, eight rebounds) showed flashes of brilliance.
For the Taipans, there were plenty of positives as they began life without last season's best defensive player and Cairns' leading scorer, import DJ Newbill who did not return in 2021.
Their starting five all hit double figures, led by Machado who had 17 points, eight rebounds and eight assists while Cam Oliver battled early foul trouble to finish with 12 points and 11 boards.
The Kings led 30-24 at the first break, 51-50 at halftime and 70-64 at the final interval before the Taipans clawed their way back.