Casper Ware (20 points) nailed the match-sealing jumper with 14 seconds left on the clock after Chris Goulding (16 points), who was tamed for three quarters, notched four points and a crucial steal in the final 90 seconds.
Melbourne coach Dean Vickerman praised his side’s low turnover count.
«Even though we still lost the rebound count, we were a lot better than the last time we were here when they had 25 offensive rebounds,» he said.
«The biggest one for is was we turned the ball over three times and we got 22 points off turnovers ourselves.
«I liked our intent once we got a steal or a rebound to really push it.»
For Adelaide, Anthony Drmic had a career-high 20 points and was well supported by captain Daniel Johnson (15 points, 11 boards) while Nathan Sobey scored nine of his 11 points in the fourth term but conceded a crucial late turnover.
Sixers coach Joey Wright admitted United were superior at the key moments.
«We only had 14 turnovers, we shot a pretty good clip from the 3-point line and we out-rebounded them,» he said.
«That’s pretty close to our capacity but it’s just the timing.
«Some crucial turnovers at the wrong time and a couple of their shots went down at the right time for them.»