If basketball games finished at halftime, Melbourne United would have come away from their two NBLxNBA clashes looking like they wouldn’t be out of place in the best league in the world.
Tight defence, slick shooting and an ability to keep up with the LA Clippers and Sacramento Kings were features of their foray stateside.
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Melbourne United star Shawn Long brings the hammer down on Sacramento. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
Unfortunately, third quarter lapses ruined any hopes they had of becoming the first NBL team to defeat an NBA counterpart.
Against Sacramento today, United fought out a tense battle early doors, the scores locked at 38, before the up-and-coming Kings put the pedal to the metal, opening up a 60-49 halftime lead they never surrendered.
After becoming the first NBL team to score 100 points against an NBA opponent in the 100-118 loss against the Clippers Monday, they did it again today, hanging 110 on the Kings — a mighty effort, even if their opponent did pour in 124.
Chris Goulding was on fire from deep. Picture: APSource:AP
Chris Goulding was on fire from the outside draining seven of his 10 three-point attempts to lead United’s scoring with 25, while point guard Melo Trimble backed up his 22 points and six assists with another 20-6.
New import Shawn Long mixed it up in the middle with Kings’ sophomore Marvin Bagley and ex-Philadelphia teammate Richaun Holmes, tearing down 15 rebounds to go with 15 points, while sending back three shots.
It was a performance that he will hope caught the eye of any NBA scouts sitting in the bleachers at the Golden 1 Centre, but Bagley monsters United with 30 points and 14 rebounds.
Jo Lual-Acuil has been a great find for United so far this season. Picture: APSource:AP
Coach Dean Vickerman will be pleased with the work of 25-year-old centre Joe Lual-Acuil, who had 12 points and 9 boards in 20 minutes.
Sharpshooter Yogi Ferrell drained five three-pointers on his way to 24, while Harrison Barnes had 18.
United will have almost no time to reflect on the match, with a flight home ahead of a Grand Final rematch against the Perth Wildcats at Melbourne Arena on Sunday.
Originally published asUnited cracks ton again, but NBA still Kings
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