Basketball: NZ Breakers owner Matt Walsh fined for Twitter criticism of ANBL finals referees

As his club tries to secure its fifth Australian NBL crown - and first under his stewardship - NZ Breakers owner Matt Walsh has been fined for criticising referees on social media during a finals game.

As the Auckland-based team slumped to a 91-68 Game Three loss, Walsh tweeted: "Maybe they'll just foul our entire team out."

American forward Jarrell Brantley exited that contest early with five personal fouls, while captain Tom Abercrombie, veteran centre Rob Loe and NBL Sixth Man of the Year Barry Brown Jr teetered on the brink of expulsion with four each.

While the final foul count went against the Breakers 26-19, Sydney centre Jordan Hunter fouled out of the game in less than five minutes.

Walsh has been fined A$1500 for breaking the ANBL code of conduct, while the Breakers club has also received a formal warning for a tweet posted after the same game, pointing out the foul disparity across their playoff run.

"That's 1500 more reasons to beat the Aussies tonight," Walsh told Newshub. "Plenty has been said about the referees in this series, we have two great teams... let's let the players duke it out and I'm pretty confident we will come out on top."

Over their six post-season games, the Breakers have been whistled for 138 fouls, compared to 124 against their opponents. They have also attempted 129 free throws, against their rivals' 144.

Ironically, the only contest the Breakers have enjoyed the benefit of those calls was the Game Four victory over Sydney - after Walsh and his club pointed out the discrepancy.

Their slap on the wrist comes 24 hours after Kings coach Chase Buford was fined A$3500 for comments he made about officiating after that loss at Spark Arena, where he walked out of the post-game media conference in protest.

Both teams have competed for the favour of the officials across this series, each accusing the other of playing a physical style.

The prospect of a winner-take-all encounter at Sydney's Qudos Bank Arena clearly holds not intimidation for the Breakers.

"The team feels great playing on the road," said Walsh. "We've been the best road team in the league all year.

"We came here and played Game One, and kicked their asses. As a player, this is a dream - a road, deciding game in front of 16,000 people.

"If you can't get up for this game, you don't deserve to win."

Join us at 9:30pm tonight for live updates of the Breakers v Kings ANBL Grand Final decider