WWAG NBL24 Match Recap - Round 19 v New Zealand Breakers
Melbourne United Media
In his 50th NBL game, Matthew Dellavedova got United on the board on Sunday, much to the delight of the sold out John Cain Arena Crowd.
The NBA championship winner connected on a floater in the lane before going to the free-throw line for a pair of makes.
Ian Clark and Chris Goulding then went to work beyond the arc, cashing in on a pair of three-pointers, giving United a lead briefly before the Breakers hit back.
The visitors were able to retake the lead thanks to some sweet shooting from Will McDowell-White before Shea Ili took it upon himself to lead Melbourne’s comeback.
The kiwi point guard sliced through the New Zealand’s defence on his way to nine first-quarter points.
This, combined with a Tanner Krebs triple, gave MU a five-point advantage after the opening 10 minutes.
After a Jo Lual-Acuil Jr layup got the second period started for United, Dellavedova showcased his ability to use his size inside for tough buckets.
Scoring in the post, on the drive and from floater range, Delly worked his way up to 10 first-half points.
As they looked to build out their advantage, Melbourne’s shooters dialled in once again from long range.
Clark knocked down two more triples, while CG43 splashed a shot from way downtown to bring JCA to their feet.
Not content with their lead, Shea Ili raced down the floor to beat the half-time buzzer, getting all the way to the cup for a layup plus the foul with less than a second remaining to give Melbourne a 55-39 lead.
After not scoring any points in the first half, Luke Travers registered his first points in emphatic fashion, skying high for an alley-oop slam on the first play coming out of the half.
While Melbourne was able to continue to score, it was on the defensive end that the home side really flexed their muscles.
United limited the Breakers to just 16 points across the period, taking away their easy opportunities and crashing the boards with force.
This allowed the home side to pull ahead by a game-high 23 points heading into the final 10 minutes of action.
Needing to lock in to secure the win, Melbourne were tested by New Zealand, who went on a 10-2 run to start the fourth period.
Searching for answers, Travers stepped up, slamming home a pair of dunks to help slow the run.
Despite this, the visitors kept coming, cutting the deficit to as little as 10 points, however when it came down to winning time, United’s stars came through in the clutch.
Ian Clark first came down the lane to drop in a silky floater before fading out beyond the arc a few plays later for a deep triple.
Then, with one minute remaining, JLA iced the game with an and-one finish at the hoop to secure Melbourne’s 19th win of the season.
United will next head on the road to start Round 20 against the Cairns Taipans on Friday 16 February.
Fans can tune in on ESPN via Kayo and Foxtel.