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Melbourne United unleashes firepower to beat Sydney Kings

Melbourne United blunted the effectiveness of Sydney Kings star Jaylin Galloway on Thursday night.

Melbourne United blunted the effectiveness of Sydney Kings star Jaylin Galloway on Thursday night. Photo: Getty

On a night when Sydney Kings were trying to show their NBL “three-peat” credentials, it was the ladder-leading Melbourne United that made the statement with the 101-85 victory.

It has been a roller-coaster ride so far this season for the Kings under new coach Mahmoud Abdelfattah as they try to win three straight championships.

They were looking to build on the momentum from beating Cairns to close out 2023 when hosting Melbourne at Qudos Bank Arena on Thursday night, but United is the one team you don’t want to face coming off a loss.

Melbourne was stung by a loss in Cairns on New Year’s Eve and hit back with a vengeance to continue its month-long road schedule.

And it was its role players who stood tall.

Sydney focused much of its attention to deny the shot attempts for Melbourne captain Chris Goulding.

They did well to hold Goulding to nine shots, but United has so many other weapons, even with Luke Travers not hitting the floor.

Point guard duo Matthew Dellavedova (16 points, nine assists, six rebounds) and Shea Ili (19 points, three assists) were outstanding not only with those numbers, but in limiting Sydney star Jaylen Adams to eight points with six turnovers.

Tanner Krebs had a purple patch with three three-pointers in the third quarter on his way to 13 points as United turned a two-point half-time deficit into a 14-point lead by the end of the third.

Melbourne scored 13 straight points just before three-quarter-time, with triples from Kyle Bowen (seven points, seven rebounds, three assists), Krebs and Goulding (16 points, 4-of-6 from deep) to break the game open.

By the time Goulding hit another three early in the fourth, the margin was back out to 13 and Melbourne cruised to the 16-point win to remain out clear on top at 15-4.

Big men Jo Lual-Acuil (12 points, nine rebounds) and Next Star Ariel Hukporti (10 points, six boards) also impressed for the winners.

Sydney slips to 10-9, having lost three of its past four games ahead of hosting Brisbane on Sunday.

Captain Shaun Bruce delivered 16 points and five assists for Sydney, with Kouat Noi adding 13 points and Jordan Hunter 12 to go with nine rebounds.

-AAP

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