PREVIEW | NBL Championship Series – Game Five

IT all comes down to today, with the National Basketball League (NBL) Championship Series set to hold a fifth and decisive game at John Cain Arena this afternoon.

With the series tied at two games apiece, Melbourne United will host the Tasmania JackJumpers in a battle for the 2023/24 championship, fittingly capping off a season that has been full of excitement and entertainment.

With both sides capable of winning in big games, the match could go either way, setting up a contest for the ages.

Melbourne United (1st) vs. Tasmania JackJumpers (3rd)

John Cain Arena
Sunday, March 31 @4:00pm

After United kept their title hopes alive with a clutch road win on Thursday, the series now comes down to which side can handle the pressure of the biggest game of the season.


It was do or die last outing for United, trailing 2-1 in the series and heading to the Apple Isle with their season on the line. However, Melbourne managed to put on a defensive masterclass, getting key stops in crunch time to claim a thrilling two-point win and force a fifth and final game.


United have looked the better side for much of the series, despite proceedings heading to five games. Melbourne has led for most of the time, but games two and three saw blown leads prove costly, as the opposition delivered down the stretch. There were some obvious adjustments made for game four, particularly on the defensive end, in not allowing Tasmania’s key players to get off the chain. With a vocal John Cain Arena on their side, United look in a strong position to win it all.

The JackJumpers had one hand on the trophy heading into the last outing, but could not deliver in the final two minutes and let an opportunity go begging. Tasmania led by three points in the dying stages, but conceded multiple turnovers in sloppy fashion, which proved to be the deciding factor. Looking after the ball will be a focal point for the visitors, and while winning on the road is tough, they did exactly that last Sunday.


For United, they have several talented pieces they can turn to in the big games, and they will be looking to their leaders for important plays. None are more proven in this domain than Chris Goulding, and he could be the difference on the big stage. The star sharpshooter has already knocked down some massive three-pointers throughout the series, and if he can find his rhythm early once again at John Cain Arena, it might be lights out for Tasmania.

The JackJumpers may not have the big names that United possess, but still have players that are just as important to team success. It was a quiet game from Milton Doyle in Thursday’s loss, with the star guard restricted to 14 points on just 4/14 shooting from the field. He struggled with the close attention from Matthew Dellavedova, and turned the ball over at a crucial time late in the game, so he will be eager to bounce back today.


Melbourne United by eight points.

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