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Melbourne out improve their NBL form

Melbourne United will focus on their late-game execution after close losses to Adelaide and Brisbane halted their NBL progress..

Melbourne out improve their NBL form

Melbourne United will focus on their late-game execution after close losses to Adelaide and Brisbane halted their NBL progress..

Melbourne United Head Coach DEAN VICKERMAN talks to his players during the NBL Blitz match between the Brisbane Bullets and Melbourne United at BM in Ballarat, Australia.
Melbourne United Head Coach DEAN VICKERMAN talks to his players during the NBL Blitz match between the Brisbane Bullets and Melbourne United at BM in Ballarat, Australia. Picture:Photo by Graham Denholm/Getty Images

Melbourne United are counting the cost of consecutive defeats after missing the chance to return to the top of the NBL ladder.

The defending champions were looking to capitalise on losses by rivals Sydney and Perth to gain an advantage in the race for the minor premiership.


But following their two-point loss to the Adelaide 36ers on Boxing Day, United were outplayed in the second half of Sunday's clash with the Brisbane Bullets as the recent trend of higher-ranked teams being knocked off by the outsiders continued.

"We had a shot to win against Adelaide and we were right there tonight," Dean Vickerman said after Sunday's 95-86 loss to the Bullets on the Gold Coast.

"You want to win close games and really good teams find a way to close those out.

"We haven't been able to the last two games so we're talking about our end-game situations - where we go to, what are our targets and we have still got to refine that a little bit more."

United ended up taking 13 more shots than their opponents but Brisbane were far more efficient, especially from long distance where they connected on 11 three-pointers at 52 per cent accuracy compared to United's 26 per cent (7-of-26).

Casper Ware (29 points) did his best to lead United to victory but with Chris Goulding fouling out and import DJ Kennedy unavailable following a minor car accident on Friday, it was Brisbane who executed better at crucial moments.

Bullets guard Cam Gliddon came up big in the final minutes by drilling a pair of three-pointers to put the game beyond Melbourne's reach.

"Down the stretch, they just made shots better than us," Vickerman admitted.

"I thought we had some good opportunities that we missed and an opportunity to cut it to two with a few minutes to go there.

"Then we got in a little bit of scramble mode and Gliddon was capable of making a couple of big shots down the stretch."

The win was Brisbane's third over United in the past month to hand the Bullets the season series 3-1 over the reigning champs.

United expect Kennedy to be available for their road trip to play the Cairns Taipans next Sunday.

AAP


AAP




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