Bulla Recap: Melbourne United grind out 9th win in a row against 36ers
Melbourne United made it 9 wins in a row as they defeated the Adelaide 36ers 92-78 at John Cain Arena on Saturday afternoon.
It was a tough, ground-out game, which started with Mitch McCarron scoring off with an easy layup on the first possession. But in a trend that would continue for most of the night, Adelaide immediately hit right back, with Brandon Paul hitting his first three of the night.
Daniel Johnson, playing his 300th NBL game, was on target early for Adelaide, stepping back in familiar fashion at the elbow for an uncontested 2 points. Chris Goulding then opened his scoring account with a 3, and then found a wide-open Mason Peatling on the next play with a beautiful behind-the-back pass, who finished with the 2.
A Jock Landale 3 had Melbourne out to a 5-point lead, with Adelaide’s 4 early turnovers beginning to trouble them.
Brandon Paul continued to put his stamp on the game, hitting his second 3-pointer to pull Adelaide within 2 points once more. Mason Peatling got one back, knocking down a 3 of his own to take his first-quarter tally up to 7 points.
Adelaide came out hot to start the second quarter, dropping the first 5 points, but the first real highlight of the quarter came from Melbourne’s Jo Lual-Acuil Jnr. After blocking Giddey on the 3-point line, Lual-Acuil Jnr collected the deflected ball, took it coast-to-coast for an and-one layup, pushing United’s lead back out to 3 points.
Adelaide continued to close the gap on United, with Melbourne rallying each time to pull away once again. It was at this point that Landale began to assert his dominance on the offensive end, first hitting a 3, and then followed up with an emphatic dunk.
A David Barlow 3-pointer was yet again followed up by a Brandon Paul triple, but a jump shot on the buzzer by Mitch McCarron kept United up by 1 at the main break, leading Adelaide 48-47.
Landale opened the scoring in the third, first with a 2, then with a 3. Adelaide then hit a bucket of their own, but United replied by finding a wide-open McCarron in transition for a 3-pointer that extended United’s lead out to 7.
Jo Lual-Acuil Jnr stepped up with an effort play, collecting his own offensive rebound twice, before encouraging Isaac Humphries to pick up his third personal foul via an and-one lay-in.
True to form, Adelaide just never went away, chipping away consistently at United. With a Daniel Johnson 3-point play to finish the third quarter, the 36ers were within 4 points of Melbourne going into the last.
Brandon Paul continued to impress with a party trick bucket early in the fourth. Young gun Josh Giddey did nothing to slow down his run toward the NBA, with a 2-point basket helping him to double-double on the night, racking up 14 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists.
Halfway through the final quarter, it looked as though Melbourne United would begin to pull away. A wide-open David Barlow knocked down an automatic 3-pointer, putting Melbourne up by 9 points with 5 minutes to go. But Adelaide yet again drew level.
Melbourne United then kicked into gear, with a 14-0 run that was ignited by a full court pass from Yudai Baba, finding a wide-open Goulding in the corner who easily hit the three. United kept the foot on the gas, scoring streak capped off by Barlow who wound back the clock to tuck in a one-hand-jam, putting Melbourne up 83-69.
Mitch McCarron put the final touches on the victory, ending the game in style with a crowd-raising dunk, Melbourne finally winning by 14. McCarron led all scorers with 21 points, and picked up 5 assists and 5 steals along the way.
Jock Landale extended his double-double streak via 19 points and 10 rebounds, with fellow big Jo Lual-Acuil Junior also achieving a double-double with not only 13 points and 10 rebounds, but also 5 blocks. Chris Goulding and Mason Peatling also kept the scorers busy, ending with 13 and 11 points respectively.
Melbourne United will now turn their attention to the New Zealand Breakers, and look to make it 10 wins in a row, when the two teams face to start off Round 16 at 7:30pm Wednesday April 28 at John Cain Arena. Tickets are available for that game here.