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4.5 Total stars
1986 would see the Adelaide 36ers win the first of their four NBL championships. Bill Jones replaced Peter Ali as captain and forward Dwayne Nelson returned to the team after a year away, while Ken Cole would win the NBL Coach of the Year award after guiding the team to a 24-2 record (five more wins than the second placed Canberra Cannons). The 36ers were undefeated at home during the regular season going 13-0, the first time a club had gone unbeaten at home in league history. The two games the 36ers lost in the regular season were both to last second shots that ultimately denied Adelaide the perfect season but earned the team the nickname "The Invincibles". Adelaide accounted for the Illawarra Hawks in the semis before moving onto their second grand final in a row, once again facing the Brisbane Bullets. The 36ers won the first game of the series 122-119 in overtime in Brisbane. Back home in Adelaide the 36ers would lose only their third game of the year (and first at home) when they lost game two 83-104. The final game played at home in front of a packed Apollo Stadium saw the Adelaide 36ers win their first championship with a 113-91 victory. The 36ers average winning margin in 1986 was 17.8 points and 25 years later during the 2011/12 NBL season, the 1986 36ers were named the leagues greatest ever team on the NBL's official website.
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