United extend NBL streak, sweep past Kings

·2-min read

Melbourne United have extended their record-breaking winning sequence to 11 games after they stormed home to crush the Sydney Kings 103-78.

The Kings threw down the challenge to the ladder leaders on Sunday at John Cain Arena by racing out to an 11-point lead with Casper Ware (25 points, five three-pointers) doing everything in his power to end his former club's hot streak.

But even with starting centre Jock Landale sidelined with a minor knee injury, United possessed too much talent and depth as they dominated the second and fourth quarters to end Sydney's four-match unbeaten run.

Chris Goulding powered Melbourne with 21 points while Jo Lual-Acuil replaced Landale in the starting line-up and produced 20 points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots as United consolidated top spot on the ladder at 21-5.

"We kept the pace pretty high and I thought us playing at a higher tempo wore them down a little bit and we saw that in the second and fourth quarter," coach Dean Vickerman said after United outscored Sydney by a combined 37 points through those two periods.

Sydney handed United their last defeat with a 28-point drubbing in round 10 and appeared on target to repeat the dose with Ware sinking four of five shots for 11 first-quarter points and Shaun Bruce adding a late triple for a 31-20 advantage.

But United moved quickly to reel in Sydney's lead, Scotty Hopson playing his part in a 16-4 opening to the second period before Goulding and Mason Peatling fired late to edge Melbourne ahead 52-46.

The rollercoaster ride continued after halftime with Ware's hot shooting helping the Kings to a 15-2 start as they regained the lead but Melbourne scored the next 11 points and restricted the Kings to two made field goals in the final seven minutes of the third quarter.

The match appeared to be evenly poised with the home side holding a 70-65 lead at the start of the final term but after Jarell Martin opened the scoring for the Kings, Lual-Acuil and Yudai Baba broke Sydney's resistance as they combined for 13 unanswered points.

With the result beyond doubt, United kept their foot on the pedal and the Kings' frustration boiled over when Daniel Kickert was hit with an unsportsmanlike foul following an off-the-ball clash with Lual-Acuil.

Coach Adam Forde described the performance as "embarrassing" and felt the club was starting to slip after a run of strong performances that saw them rise to third on the NBL ladder.

"We needed that, Idon't know if that's us falling in love with the headlines ... that's the result and that's what we needed, we needed a swift kick in the nuts," Forde said.