Melbourne United aim to be NBL road kings

Adrian Warren
Melbourne United coach Dean Vickerman wants his side to get on a winning run on the road this month

Melbourne United coach Dean Vickerman says his club have the chance to become one of the NBL's best road teams and the first month of the year will give them the chance to prove that.

United's 104-91 victory over Illawarra on Saturday was the first of four successive games on the road while their Melbourne Arena home is used for the Australian Open tennis tournament.

Coming off successive home losses to Cairns and Brisbane in the last days of 2019, the win in Wollongong represented a better start to the new year.

It was their third straight away win following an earlier victory in Wollongong and a notable triumph over Perth.

United have a 6-5 home record and a 5-4 away log.

The only teams to have won more away games than Melbourne are the two teams above them on the ladder.

Second-placed Perth and ladder leaders Sydney have, however, each had more away fixtures.

United have matches in Adelaide, New Zealand and Sydney before they return to their home court on January 29.

"Our home record is not where we want it," United coach Dean Vickerman said.

"We believe that we have a chance to be one of the best road teams in the league.

"We've got to really push it through this month while the tennis is on. So we've just got to grind those ones out."

One of the most encouraging aspects of the win over Illawarra was the performance of new import forward Stanton Kidd, who Vickerman said had a massive impact switching between the three and four spots.

He finished joint top Melbourne scorer on 21 points, with Chris Goulding, nailing five of eight three-point attempts, two of them in United's final quarter surge.

"I figured it's going to take a few games to adjust to the rotation and positions coach wants me to play," Kidd said.

"I've got a lot to learn, I've still got to learn the four position.

"I pretty much know the three position because that's where they started me at and drilled that into my head."

Another strong performer on Saturday was bench big Jo Lual Acuil.

He scored ten points including eight in under four minutes in the first quarter to help overturn an early 20-9 deficit.