Hawks soar to second with tense win

THE standings have been hard to predict throughout the National Basketball League (NBL)’s 2021/22 season, and that trend has continued. Saturday saw the competition host a double-header, with a pair of intriguing clashes taking place over the course of the evening. The action kicked off at John Cain Arena, as Melbourne United hosted the red hot Illawarra Hawks on Saturday evening. It was a highly anticipated battle, with the two sides in some ripping nick over the last few weeks. In the end, Illawarra was able to get the job done thanks to a barnstorming final term, which saw Melbourne outscored by 10 as the Hawks snuck away with a six-point win.

  • Team
  • Melbourne United
  • Illawarra Hawks

Melbourne United (90) def. by Illawarra Hawks (96)

In one of the most hyped games of the round, the Illawarra Hawks have been able to take down the reigning premiers when the two sides clashed at John Cain Arena on Saturday evening. It was a top four clash, with both sides producing some nice basketball over recent weeks. United came in as the favoured side, given they had the home court advantage and look primed for another serious tilt at the title. However, the Hawks were still expected to have a fair crack, with Brian Goorjian leading his side to a nice month of play, and it showed in their matchup against Melbourne. The Hawks produced a masterful last term to sneak past United and claim a six point triumph as they moved up to second spot on the ladder.

It was a high scoring start to the contest, with a collective 62 points for the first 10 minutes of play, with Illawarra taking a slim lead into quarter time. The offensive output dropped for both sides in the second term, which was expected given the blistering start. Melbourne was able to take a three point lead into the main break, and then further extended it by one in the third. However, the fourth term was all Illawarra, with the visitors outscoring their opponents 25-15 to edge their way past United on the scoreboard, with the final margin sitting at six.

For the victors, Xavier Rathan-Mayes led the way with a terrific performance on the offensive end. He finished with 25 points and eight assists, frequently involved in the offensive possessions for his side. He had some good help from Antonius Cleveland, who poured in 22 points of his own as he continues his nice season. For United, Jack White fought bravely to finish with a team-high 17 points.

  • Team
  • Cairns Taipans
  • SEM Phoenix

The second match of the night’s double-header saw the Cairns Taipans claim a terrific upset win over the SEM Phoenix at Cairns Convention Centre. The home side simply outworked their opponents, with the Phoenix’s finals hopes continuing to fade.

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