Although they are behind in the NBL Grand Final Series, the Illawarra Hawks still have a chance of winning the series on Sunday. The Hawks lost the first two games of the series to the Perth Wildcats, not to be confused with the Kentucky Wildcats, who lost to the Florida Gators, 88-66. The two teams from "Down Under" are both vehemently competitive, even though Illawarra coach Rob Beveridge described his players as "soft in the third quarter" of game 2, (ESPN.com, 3/3/17). In recent games, Illawarra has led in the first half but given up those leads in second half competitions.

First half, second half

In the first NBL Series game, the Illawarra Hawks led 87-82 in the first half; however, the formidable Australian team gave up its lead in the second half, to be defeated by the Perth Wildcats by a 96-67 combined margin in the second half. In terms of dominance, the Wildcats' offense was dominant in the first game, and their defense prevailed in the second game. Consequently, the Hawks' shooting was limited to 31.25 percent in the second half of the game.

What all the signs show

Although all the signs point to a Wildcats sweep of the NBL Final, the sweep is far from "cast in stone." In numerous sporting platforms, including basketball, football and baseball, teams that were behind in the first half of playoff competitions nevertheless rebounded and prevailed in the end.

After trailing 3-1 in the NBA Finals, the Cleveland Cavaliers became the first team to win the NBA Finals after such an initial scoring deficit. In baseball, after 108 years of waiting, the Chicago Cubs came back to win the World Series in 2016 trailing 3-1. And in football, the New England Patriots came back to win the Super Bowl in 2017 after the largest comeback in Super Bowl history.

New England beat the Atlanta Falcons, 34-38, in just 114 seconds of the fourth quarter of the game after being behind 28-3 in the third quarter of the game.

And so even though the signs point to a Perth Wildcats victory in the NBL Final Rounds, there is some precedent for a "comeback victory" in the second half of the series.

And sometimes just the slightest spark of possibility of an exploding victory in the final games of a series, is enough to ignite the passion of victory.

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