Melbourne United head coach Dean Vickerman drew a smile when describing the feeling in the locker room after clinching top spot on the NBL ladder, with the championship favourites now locked into the No. 1 seed.
“We had a chat in the locker room and a little reflection on where we started our season with our team contracting Covid and starting that way and then navigating what’s happened,” Vickerman said after Friday night’s win over the Perth Wildcats.
“Credit to the NBL for continuing to get the league running and to this point but the sacrifices of the players of all teams have made, being away from their families. I’m really proud of our guys and what we’ve achieved so far and there’s still a lot to go.”
With one game to play against the Adelaide 36ers on Sunday, United hold a 27-8 record. Guard Mitch McCarron reflected on the achievement and what it meant to the star-studded roster.
“It means everything. We set goals at the start of the year and through the year we try to tick them off and continue to improve,” McCarron said.
“One of those goals was to put ourselves in the best position leading into finals and that’s first place. We need to celebrate that a little bit and then it will mean nothing when finals come around and we are back to it.”
Melbourne United are hoping to crush the Wildcats’ threepeat dreams. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images
Complicating the situation for United is their inability to capitalise on home court advantage, with the current Covid outbreak resulting in John Cain Arena being unlikely to host games for the semi-final series.
Instead, United will have the opportunity to work with the league to pick a venue to “host” their earned home playoff games.
“We aren’t going to play our semi-final series in Victoria, it’s extremely unlikely there is any prospect of that, so we have to choose a location that is good for us as a team,” Vickerman said.
“There are so many decisions to be made but I really like how our club has consulted everybody on our team about what we think is going to be best for our performance and how it impacts the rest of the club and family.
“We’ll choose a location fairly soon and we’ll see if we are good enough to make the grand final if there’s a prospect of playing games in Victoria”
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