Match Preview: NBL24 - Round 7 - South East Melbourne Phoenix
Melbourne United Media
It’s time for Throwdown XXII!
Melbourne United will come into a ‘road’ game at John Cain Arena on Sunday afternoon to face off against the South East Melbourne Phoenix in a battle for Victorian supremacy.
Having won 14 of the 21 previous Throwdowns, including six of the past eight meetings, United will head into the contest eager to extend their dominance over the Phoenix.
A win would keep Melbourne undefeated on the road, having won their previous four games away from their home court.
PLAYER TO WATCH
No player has played in as many Throwdown games as Melbourne United captain, Chris Goulding.
The sharpshooter has been a part of all 14 of United’s wins against their rivals, cashing in close to three-times as many three-pointers as anyone in the matchup’s history.
After connecting on another four triples in United’s last outing, Goulding will aim to carry over his hot shooting into Sunday afternoon.
Look for Vickerman to create opportunities for Goulding across the 40 minutes of action.
Leading into the game, all the talk has surrounded the matchup between former league MVP finalist Jo Lual-Acuil Jr and Phoenix center Alan Williams.
In his last season with United, JLA dominated SEM, averaging 18 points, 9.5 rebounds and three blocks per game while securing wins in three of four meetings.
This included a career-high 30 point, nine rebound, three-block performance on 84.6% shooting from the field.
If Alan Williams, who proclaimed in the preseason that Lual-Acul Jr was the player he wanted to play against most in the league, wants to put the Phoenix in a competitive position on Sunday, he will have to stay out of foul trouble.
The American big man averages the equal-most fouls per game in the league (four) and has fouled out of his past two outings.
JLA on the other hand has been a foul-drawing machine, averaging 6.2 fouls against per game.
THE OTHER GUYS
When it comes to beating the SEM Phoenix, a major focus of any team has to be slowing down Mitch Creek.
While the forward is averaging his lowest scoring output since NBL21, he remains capable of putting up points quickly.
Surrounding Creek are import guard pairing Gary Browne and Will Cummings, the latter of which is yet to be confirmed as fully healthy. Both are able to create shots for themselves and their teammates in the open court.
A major X-factor for the Phoenix will come down to what sort of contribution they can get from their bench, with the shooting of Ben Ayre, Ruben Te Rangi and Rhys Vague crucial in SEM’s success.
Who: Melbourne United vs South East Melbourne Phoenix
Tip-off: 2pm AEDT, Monday 12 November, 2023
Where: John Cain Arena Arena, Melbourne
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