WWAG NBL24 Match Recap - Round 17 v Brisbane Bullets
Melbourne United Media
Looking to produce highlights from the opening tip in Brisbane, Ariel Hukporti opened Melbourne United’s account in style, slamming home a powerful putback dunk.
A pair of three-pointers from Chris Goulding and Ian Clark quickly followed to help United extend their advantage.
Both sides ratched up the defensive pressure across the middle of the period, with Luke Travers producing a pair of skyscraping blocks, the second of which led directly to a Tanner Krebs long-ball.
Wanting to close the quarter strong, Jo Lual-Acuil Jr went to work in his first game back, splashing a post-fadeaway before finding the bottom of the net from beyond the arc to help United take a 21-13 lead into the first break.
Much like in the first term, Hukporti got things going with a bucket around the basket to start the second.
Looking to break the game open, CG43 showcased his skill, sinking two deep triples, sandwiching an acrobatic and-one layup from Shea Ili.
Not content with just producing big plays on offence, Goulding quieted the Brisbane crowd with his rim protection, swatting Chris Smith’s layup attempt at the other end.
While the Bullets were able to make their run, it was Lual-Acuil Jr that fueled Melbourne as they pushed further ahead.
The big-man mixed up Aron Baynes off the dribble on multiple possessions, heading into half-time with 15 points and six rebounds and United leading by 11 points.
While tough buckets from Luke Travers and Chris Goulding provided Melbourne with their first two scores of the third, the quarter belonged to JLA, who dominated Brisbane’s bigs to the tune of 12 points in just five minutes of action.
Whether it was in the post, from three-point range or on the glass, Lual-Acuil Jr could not be stopped.
Punctuating his performance, JLA rose up and threw down an enormous and-one slam, bringing United’s bench to their feet.
When he rested, Tanner Krebs and Ian Clark kept the scoreboard ticking over for the visitors, propelling Melbourne to a 73-59 lead with one quarter to play.
With an opportunity to lock in a top-two spot, United’s stars ensured they wouldn’t be denied.
Having already knocked down a trio of three-pointers, Goulding dialled in his range across the final 10 minutes, adding three more triples to bring his total to 23 points.
With CG43 firing away from outside, Lual-Acuil Jr continued what would be a career night, scoring whenever he wanted to ultimately finish with 33 points, 13 rebounds and three steals.
This tremendous finish locked away Melbourne’s 11th consecutive victory over the Bullets, which also clinched a top-two finish with five games remaining.
United will look to pick up another victory on Sunday afternoon when they face off against the Sydney Kings on the road from 4pm.
The game will be streamed live and free on 10 Peach and Kayo Freebies.