Melbourne Tigers have received a huge boost to their chances of making the NBL grand final after Adelaide 36ers import Gary Ervin was suspended by the NBL on Monday night.
Ervin will miss the deciding match of the semi-final series between the Tigers and Sixers in Adelaide on Tuesday night after he was suspended for one game for kneeing Tigers guard Chris Goulding in the groin during game two on Sunday.
After a hearing that lasted six hours, the tribunal suspended Ervin for game three, fined him $7500, gave him a two-match suspended sentence and a suspended fine of $10,000, with the suspended sentence active for the next two years.
The Sixers have depth at point guard with Rhys Carter and Jason Cadee capable of standing in for Ervin, although the Sixers will miss his scoring, which was crucial in their game-one victory.
The winner of Tuesday's game will face the Perth Wildcats in the NBL grand final series.
Tigers forward Mark Worthington said the team had to again make the Sixers take contested shots and make sure their own offence continued to tick over.
Worthington also said the Tigers needed to get centre Scott Morrison more touches after he scored 18 points on eight-from-11 shooting against Sixers centres Daniel Johnson and Luke Schenscher in game two as the team looks to lighten the load on Goulding who scored 37 points on Sunday.
"We have got to find Morrison more and take some of the pressure off Goulding," Worthington said.