Perth Wildcats coach Trevor Gleeson has thrown a pre-finals grenade, accusing the Brisbane Bullets of employing illegal screens during games.
The Wildcats will take on the Bullets in a best-of-three semi-final series, starting in Perth on Thursday.
Gleeson set the scene for a fiery encounter on Friday when he accused the Bullets of illegal tactics.
"They're very physical. They set a lot of illegal screens on the ball, which we're going to have to navigate through," Gleeson said.
When asked to clarify whether he said legal or illegal, Gleeson replied: "I think illegal, but it's not illegal until the umpire calls it."
Gleeson, who didn't go into specifics about why he thought the screens were against the rules, indicated he was unlikely to talk to the referees' department about it before the finals start.
"We don't really have a speed phone conversation with the referees' boss," Gleeson said.
"It's something we've got to navigate. We know in the finals the referees normally put the whistles in the pocket, but that's the way every other sport does it. We're ok with it."
Gleeson's comments are sure to fire up the Bullets, who posted a 2-2 record against Perth this season.
The Wildcats have used the week off before the finals to rest up their bruised and battered squad.
Terrico White (wrist), Greg Hire (shoulder), and Mitch Norton (calf) are all nursing injuries.
White and Hire are considered certain starters for game one against Brisbane.
But Norton, who hasn't played since tearing his calf on January 25, is expected to miss the match, and may not be available until the grand final series.
"We are pretty confident he'll play at some stage of the finals, but we're just not sure if it will be next week," Gleeson said.
White missed the final-round loss with an ongoing wrist injury, and will have to manage the complaint during the finals.
Meanwhile, Gleeson said the Wildcats were still keen to put his contract negotiations on hold until after the season despite the team's top-placed finish.
With Andrew Gaze stepping down from the Sydney Kings and Rob Beveridge exiting the Illawarra Hawks, the coaching merry-go-round is set to be big during the off-season.
Gleeson has led the Wildcats to three titles and would be hot property on the open market.
"The board said they want to put in on hold until after the season. I respect that," Gleeson said.
Australian Associated Press