Tuesday , July 27 2021

Many hands make light work when United avoid bullets



High flyer: United Casper Ware draws up lay-ups.

High flyer: United Casper Ware draws up lay-ups.Credit:AAP

After the time is out, the bullet looks focused again, but again Melbourne avoids careless violations or compensates too much for leak points.

Instead of coach Dean Vickerman going to the bench and bringing veteran center Alex Pledger who immediately took over the keys while Kennedy DJs, Mitch McCarron and David Barlow held strong.

McCarron in particular pulled several strong rebounds, also taking charge on star Bullet Lamar Patterson with three minutes to play which stopped visitors on their tracks.

When the bullet pressed and tried to force turnover, Melbourne managed to control the game even though Adam Gibson (19 points) and other bullets pushed to close the margin at the end.

Melbourne's away win in New Zealand on Friday and took their record to 8-3 [win-loss] as they approached Perth (8-1) at the top of the stairs.

"We don't have the energy level we have in all the matches in New Zealand on Friday, but we still see it on the patch and that is enough to get us across the boundary," Vickerman said.

Solid Defense: Mika Vukona from Brisbane Bullets tries to get around Melbourne, Josh Boone.

Solid Defense: Mika Vukona from Brisbane Bullets tries to get around Melbourne, Josh Boone.Credit:AAP

"Defending themselves to hold them to 19 points in the fourth quarter, with the firepower they have and the way they shoot, it can easily be 30 points, but we are quite locked in defense, especially in the transition where we fight well." , took over and made some big plays.

"All those small contributions will be important to us."

Bullet coach Andrej Lemanis regretted his team's defensive errors at the end and their inability to stop Melbourne from scoring turnovers with the home side scoring 26 points from just 15 turnovers from the visitors.

The Bullets coach stopped when asked about call violations in the fourth quarter because Melbourne shot 12 of 12 free throws. He was unhappy with several calls, but also saw places where he made mistakes.

"We contribute to our own deaths with points from turnover, and they seem to come at important moments when we have the opportunity to build small momentum," said Lemanis.

"Not only does it prevent us from scoring but they punish us from turnover – that is a fair conversion rate."

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Lemanis said center Matt Hodgson, who starred in the first half, had a tight calf at half-time who saw him sit down to start the second half.

Melbourne have now won six of their last seven matches, and the next is a home match against Andrew Bogut's Sydney Kings at the Melbourne Arena on Saturday afternoon with less than 1,500 tickets left to sell.

The team has experienced a tiring month from the game, but Goulding said his team would be more than ready for Kings because this was the only next round match.

"It's a game in a week – that's good," Goulding smiled.

"We will be ready to leave on Tuesday."

Melbourne United host Sydney Kings at the Melbourne Arena on Saturday at 2.50 at night.

Roy Ward is a sports writer for The Age.


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