HOW about the competition’s newest side? Saturday night saw the National Basketball League (NBL) finals continue with game two of the semi-final series between Melbourne United and the Tasmania JackJumpers at MyState Bank Arena. United took game one after a dominant third quarter saw them take a match-winning lead, so the JackJumpers were looking for redemption. It was looking like a tough task given Melbourne’s dominance in the first game, but Scott Roth has managed to rally his team throughout the season, and with MyState Bank Arena at full capacity and rocking, Tassie had a few weapons up its sleeve.
After a see-sawing affair throughout the contest, the game ended up going down to the wire, with the JackJumpers needing to hold off a fast-finishing United side. Melbourne had its chances, putting up a number of good looks, but they didn’t fall, as Tasmania forced game three on Monday with a seven-point win.
Tasmania JackJumpers (79) def. Melbourne United (72)
The two teams were hard to separate for much of the game, as the lead changed hands in a tense first half. There were a number of contributors for either side, as the ball movement was magnificent from both squads, which resulted in some good looks at scoring. The home side took a four-point lead into the main break, but it was far from safe given how good Melbourne have been over the course of the season.
The visitors were able to erase the half-time defecit in the second period, as they began to get back to more of what we saw in game one. Chris Goulding began to get rolling, with his shooting from behind the arc causing some trouble for the Tasmania perimeter defence. In the closing minutes of the game, both teams looked to get the upper hand, with many of the buckets coming in the paint. The JackJumpers were served some clutch baskets from Josh Magette and MiKyle McIntosh, and Melbourne simply couldn’t answer, falling by seven points, while Tasmania’s remarkable journey continued.
As he has done all season, Jack McVeigh stood up for the JackJumpers, finishing with a team-high 15 points and providing a reliable avenue to scoring. Magette and McIntosh were both terrific too, standing up when their side needed it. McIntosh has been good against United all year and the trend continued on Saturday. Goulding fought hard for United with 18 points, but he did not have enough help.