WWAG NBL24 Match Recap - Round 17 v Sydney Kings
Melbourne United Media
Heading into the final game of their January road trip, United started the game perfectly, as Luke Travers skied high for an and-one alley-oop finish.
A Chris Goulding triple quickly followed before Ariel Hukporti got in on the action, bullying his way inside for a pair of buckets.
The Kings were however able to match Melbourne’s energy, going ahead by five points thanks to some hot shooting.
Needing someone to step up and wrestle back momentum, Kyle Bowen had an immediate impact off the bench, tallying five points and four rebounds.
With the scores locked at 22 each to close the period, Shea Ili dazzled, crossing up Denzel Valentine and knocking down a three-pointer plus the foul to give the visitors a four-point advantage.
While Melbourne were able to start the term with a dunk from Jo Lual-Acuil Jr, the second quarter was owned in large part by the Kings.
The home side made their charge, knocking down shots and getting important stops to pull ahead by as many as 15 points.
Next Star Ariel Hukporti was however able to provide one of the highlights of the season, rising up to put Jonah Bolden on a poster.
Despite this, Sydney were able to take a double-digit lead into the major break.
Trailing by 15 points coming out of half-time, United went to work quickly to cut into the deficit.
Quick scores from Goulding, Travers, JLA and Shea Ili helped produce a 10-1 run to begin the period, quieting the crowd at Qudos Bank Arena.
The bench then made their way into the ball-game, with Tanner Krebs draining a three-pointer and finishing a layup to help cut the Kings lead to just three points.
While a couple of late buckets from Sydney pushed their advantage back out to seven points, United took a heap of momentum into the final term.
With the game up for grabs, the Kings were able to make the most of their opportunities down the stretch.
Luke Travers was able to provide a spark, registering 15 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks, however United’s struggles from beyond the arc ultimately sunk them, falling short in their seventh-straight road game.
Melbourne will make their much-anticipated return to John Cain Arena in Round 18 when they face off against the South East Melbourne Phoenix in Throwdown XIV.
Having already sold out, anyone not in the building will be able to tune in on ESPN via Kayo and Foxtel.