United closer to locking in top spot

MELBOURNE United need just one more win to secure first position with as many rounds remaining in the National Basketball League (NBL), after defeating the New Zealand Breakers at John Cain Arena on Sunday afternoon.

United were out to continue their winning form following their Round 18 win over the South East Melbourne Phoenix. Meanwhile, the Breakers looked to resume their surge towards the play-in tournament after beating Illawarra on Friday night, setting this match up as a crucial game for solidifying finals standings.


Both teams went at it from the opening tip. Whilst the Breakers challenged United in the early stages of the match, the latter went on a 15-6 scoring run. They found ways to get to the free throw line and knocked down extra triples, shooting at 4/8 from three-point range compared to the Breakers’ 2/6.

Ian Clark, Shea Ili and Matthew Dellavedova were key influences in helping United start the game strongly. Dellavedova helped control the pace offensively and setting up the team, with Ili doing the work on the defensive end, and Clarke coming off the bench. Their efforts helped United maintain a 16-point lead at half time.

Whilst the rebound count was even, 21-20, United shot 7/12 from behind the arc compared to the Breakers 3/11.

After winning the second quarter, 28-17 and the third quarter, 23-16, United did enough to secure a 94-81 victory.

Jo Lual-Acuil was on song in the post, dominating both ends of the floor and inside the paint, finishing as the top scorer with 19 points, 11 rebounds, two assists and one block, shooting 8/14 from the field and 8/13 from two-point range.

Clark was also impressive, bringing the spark off the bench and lighting it up from the perimeter, posting 18 points, four rebounds and one assist.

Dellavedova and Ili both finished with 12 points each, while Chris Goulding posted 10 points and one steal.

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