Breakers coach Mody Maor has spoken of his pride at his team's performance at scrapping to an 80-70 victory over the Sydney Kings, which keeps their championship hopes alive after his counterpart stormed out of the post-match press conference.
Chase Buford, unhappy with the officiating at Spark Arena as the Breakers drew the finals series 2-2 to set up an all-or-nothing fifth game at Sydney's Qudos Arena on Wednesday night, accused the Breakers of being overly physical during last night's game before his dramatic exit.
The American asserted his side were playing against "eight men" — a reference to the three officials courtside.
Asked what he felt the Breakers had "got away with", he responded: "There was no freedom of movement. At one point it was 11-2 the foul count in the second half… it was clear... do you need me to help you?"
Buford was also angry at a social media post sent by Breakers owner Matt Walsh during the Breakers' big game three loss in Sydney last Friday which read: "Maybe they'll just foul our entire team out", a reference to forward Jarrell Brantley fouling out early in the final quarter and three other players finishing the game on four fouls.
"After Matt Walsh's tweet I knew exactly how tonight was going to be called, and it was called exactly as I thought it would."
Asked how his side would respond on Wednesday, Buford replied: "We will do the same s***."
When lobbed a relatively mild follow-up question about whether physicality was part of the game, Buford stormed out of the conference.
A major part of Buford's frustration may have been linked to league MVP Xavier Cooks.
Cooks was clearly unhappy with a relatively innocuous looking foul by Thomas Abercrombie and took out his frustration firstly on Dererk Pardon by pulling him to the floor and then barging into Brantley, the Breakers top scorer on the night.
It earned Cooks an unsportsmanlike foul and a seat on the bench and roused an already frenzied record crowd of more than 9000 even further.
Otherwise, it was difficult to understand Buford's reaction. The Breakers had 17 fouls called against them for the game, and Sydney 20. It was level 10-10 at halftime. If anything the Kings made the more obvious fouls, and, later in the game, the more cynical.
"I've heard what happened," Breakers coach Moar said.
"This happened here in the beginning of the season too," he said after Buford's tantrum.
"Honestly, it doesn't even bother me, the reaction. Everybody is doing the best that they can. I sat here after the third game in the series and I didn't say one peep about the referees because they are doing the best that they can, and all the other noise, man, it belongs somewhere else. So don't ask me about this.
"I for sure didn't get any help from anybody to win this game," he said.
"We competed every second we were on the floor. Sydney is an incredible team and if you lose focus for just a little bit they go on a run. We stayed with it. We kept competing even when shots didn't fall, even when the whistle didn't go, even when we made mistakes we kept competing.
"This has been the thing we've been the proudest of all year — that these guys step on the floor and give it everything they got all the time. That's all I ask for."