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Melbourne go top in NBL, dent 36ers' hopes

Casper Ware and Chris Goulding showed their class when it mattered, leaving the Sixers' NBL playoff hopes in doubt

Melbourne go top in NBL, dent 36ers' hopes

Casper Ware and Chris Goulding showed their class when it mattered, leaving the Sixers' NBL playoff hopes in doubt

CASPER WARE of Melbourne United runs with the ball during the NBL Grand Final series between Melbourne United and the Adelaide 36ers at HA in Melbourne, Australia.
CASPER WARE of Melbourne United runs with the ball during the NBL Grand Final series between Melbourne United and the Adelaide 36ers at HA in Melbourne, Australia. Picture:Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images

Defending premiers Melbourne United have gone top of the NBL ladder while handing the Adelaide 36ers a costly home defeat as they rallied to win an 89-87 thriller.

United improved their record to 17-9 - overtaking the Sydney Kings (17-9) on percentage - with two games remaining in their regular season


Adelaide (14-13) could have sealed the fourth and final spot in the playoffs with a win.

They now face an away trip to face the third-placed Perth Wildcats for their final game on Friday and a loss there would open the door to the fifth-placed Brisbane Bullets (13-14), who face the seventh-placed NZ Breakers on Saturday.

Adelaide led at every break but Melbourne's big names stood up when it mattered most.

Casper Ware (20 points) nailed the match-sealing jumper with 14 seconds left on the clock after Chris Goulding (16 points), who was tamed for three quarters, notched four points and a crucial steal in the final 90 seconds.

Melbourne coach Dean Vickerman praised his side's low turnover count.

"Even though we still lost the rebound count, we were a lot better than the last time we were here when they had 25 offensive rebounds," he said.

"The biggest one for is was we turned the ball over three times and we got 22 points off turnovers ourselves.

"I liked our intent once we got a steal or a rebound to really push it."

For Adelaide, Anthony Drmic had a career-high 20 points and was well supported by captain Daniel Johnson (15 points, 11 boards) while Nathan Sobey scored nine of his 11 points in the fourth term but conceded a crucial late turnover.

Sixers coach Joey Wright admitted United were superior at the key moments.

"We only had 14 turnovers, we shot a pretty good clip from the 3-point line and we outrebounded them," he said.

"That's pretty close to our capacity but it's just the timing.

"Some crucial turnovers at the wrong time and a couple of their shots went down at the right time for them."

AAP


AAP




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