Bullets upset Phoenix, in NBL finals hunt

Brisbane Bullets have kept their slim NBL playoff hopes alive by upsetting fellow finals aspirants South East Melbourne Phoenix 91-84 in Cairns on Wednesday.

The last NBL playoff spot is still up for grabs after Brisbane Bullets kept their slim finals hopes alive with an upset 91-84 win over South East Melbourne Phoenix in Cairns.

The Bullets trailed by 10 points early but turned the Wednesday night match on its ear with a 31-15 third quarter before claiming a third straight win to keep the race for fourth place interesting.

Only one playoff spot remains after Illawarra Hawks sealed third place with Tuesday's 81-79 win over defending champions Perth.

It remains to be seen who will claim it after sixth-placed Brisbane (17-17 record) edged closer to fellow finals aspirants Phoenix (4th; 18-16) and Sydney Kings (5th; 17-17).

However, Phoenix (103.32 per cent) have the edge due to their superior points percentage over the Kings (100.61) and Brisbane (97.46).

Indeed Brisbane must win their final games against the Kings in Sydney and a re-match at home with the Phoenix and hope South East Melbourne lose Saturday's clash with lowly New Zealand Breakers to scrape into the top four.

Still, Brisbane are daring to dream.

Bullets big man Tyrell Harrison said they were determined to provide a finals farewell for coach Andrej Lemanis who will complete a five year stint and leave for the Japanese league at season's end.

"We are still in it (finals mix). The group is now even more motivated to go all the way and send Dre off with a ring - it would be nice," he said.

In contrast, Phoenix may only need one more victory to sew up fourth because of their healthy percentage.

However South East Melbourne coach Simon Mitchell was still hurting after their second straight defeat at a deserted Cairns Pop-Up Arena.

The game was played in front of no fans after it was switched from Melbourne to Cairns due to Victoria's COVID-19 outbreak.

"Our third quarter was poor but I had an inkling in the first half when we were missing defensive assignments...to me that indicates the team is not locked in," Mitchell said.

"We were pretty clear on what we wanted to accomplish but we weren't able to for whatever reason.

"Boomers squad member Mitch Creek (28 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists) and Kyle Adnam (20pts) were enormous for the Phoenix but they missed sharp shooter Cam Gliddon who has returned to Melbourne for the birth of his second child.

Mitchell said he was unsure when Gliddon - who averaged almost 15 points per game against Brisbane - would play again due to Melbourne's extended lockdown.

Phoenix led 25-16 at the first interval and 42-37 at half time before Cadee helped Brisbane kick ahead 68-57 by the final break.

Cadee had 19 points (4-8 three point shooting) and six assists while Nathan Sobey (22pts, nine rebounds, six assists) and Harrison (10pts, eight rebounds, three blocks) also impressed.