PREVIEW | NBL Championship Series – Game Four

WHILE it may not match the exhilarating heights of game three, the fourth matchup in the 2023/24 National Basketball League (NBL) Championship Series is shaping as an enormous clash.

Sunday evening’s match at John Cain Arena delivered one of the most memorable finishes in NBL history, with the Tasmania JackJumpers defeated Melbourne United at the death off the back of a half-court shot from Jack McVeigh, stunning the NBL world.

The result gives the JackJumpers a 2-1 lead in the series, and with proceedings heading back to Tasmania for game four, the NBL’s newest side is in the box seat for a maiden championship.

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

MyState Bank Arena
Thursday, March 28 @7:30pm

Tonight’s match could be the final contest of NBL24 if the JackJumpers can claim a win in front of their home crowd and snag a first ever title, while United will be fighting to keep its season alive on the road after a heartbreaking loss.


What can be said about game three that has not already been mentioned? Melbourne had its noses in front for most of game three, before surrendering the lead late in the game and setting up a mesmerising finish that will go down in the history books.

The final minutes of the game were filled with clutch shots, from Matthew Dellavedova‘s clutch triple to Milton Doyle‘s immediate answer down the other end. United held a one-point lead with eight seconds to play, and needed to inbound the ball side out, likely getting fouled immediately.

However, Dellavedova turned the ball over, and the JackJumpers were given one last shot. The ball found its way into McVeigh’s hands as time was winding down, and instead of driving to the lane (the safest bet), he pulled up from just a couple of steps past the half-court line, and landed a shot that was heard around the country to give his side a two-point win and a lead in the series.


Tasmania is now just one win away from its first ever NBL championship, and has the opportunity to get the job done in front of its home fans. A win at John Cain Arena was massive for the JackJumpers’ title hopes, and the team will be heading into Thursday’s game with a chance at making history. There is no doubt the place will be rocking, having sold out in no time at all, but the JackJumpers will need to keep cool heads against a Melbourne side that will be desperate to keep rolling.

It was another disappointing finish for United, and another result that got away late in the match. Melbourne’s inability to handle Tasmania’s change to small ball was key in the defeat, and head coach Dean Vickerman addressed that in the post-game press conference. A team this talented with an excellent head coach will no doubt be fired up heading into Thursday’s game, and certainly has the talent to snatch a road win of its own.


For Tasmania, the loss of Marcus Lee changes the team’s structure in a big way, and the center was in strong form in the first two games of the series. The JackJumpers went small to close out games two and three, which proved an effective strategy, but Vickerman will be prepared for that in game four. If Fabijan Krslovic can stand up in a big game and deliver meaningful backup minutes at the five, without conceding too much to Melbourne’s taller centers, it will help Tassie in a huge way.

One of the biggest weapons United had in their game one win was the performance of Ian Clark off the bench. The NBA Champion delivered 18 points off the bench and added a real scoring punch for Melbourne, with the team’s offensive weapons too much for Tasmania to handle. He has been quieter since that outing, posting just eight points in both games two and three. If he can deliver 15-20 points off the bench, Melbourne’s scoring dynamic is improved massively.


Tasmania JackJumpers by 5 points.

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