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WWAG NBL24 Match Recap - Round 20, Game 1 v Cairns Taipans

16 Feb
3 mins read

Written By

Melbourne United Media

Melbourne United's comeback attempt has fallen just short in Cairns

Playing in their final road game of the regular season, Luke Travers produced an impressive highlight for Melbourne United in the opening minute, swatting a shot on the break to suck some of the energy out of the Cairns Convention Centre.

He added six quick points to this, as United trailed by just one point midway through the term, however a 17-5 run by the Taipans, including a half-court buzzer beater to end the period, put the visitors on the back foot.

Searching for answers, Melbourne looked out of sorts for much of the second period as well, despite Ian Clark’s strong showing off the bench.

The import guard worked to his spots, knocking down mid range jumpers with ease, however defensively United struggled to slow Cairns.

A pair of powerful slams from Jo Lual-Acuil Jr gave MU some energy but late shot-making from the Taipans extended their advantage out to 22 points at the major break.

Coming out of half time, Melbourne looked like they had figured some things out, slowly chipping away at the lead by getting to the hoop.

Kyle Bowen played a huge role in this, coming into the game and scoring around the bucket before swatting away shots at the other end.

These effort plays allowed United to close the gap to 17 points, but as they had the entire game, Cairns had an answer, scoring quickly to go ahead by 23 with 10 minutes remaining.

Knowing they needed to be near perfect to secure an improbable comeback victory, Melbourne went to work.

Matthew Dellavedova and Ariel Hukporti each scored around the hoop before the former cashed in on United’s first three-pointer of the game.

This was followed by nine points from Clark, which all of a sudden had the visitors down by just 11.

Fuelled by the belief that they could steal the victory, a Hukporti put-back slam, two Shea Ili free throws and a tough Chris Goulding triple had Melbourne down by just four points with two and a half minutes remaining.

Needing to score every bucket with force, Hukporti put fellow Next Star Bobi Klintman on a poster, throwing down a vicious slam from the post.

Despite this, four points was as close as United would come to securing the win, as the Taipans closed out the game at the free-throw line.

Melbourne will now head back to John Cain Arena for their final game of the regular season against the Illawarra Hawks at 2pm.

The game will be streamed live and free on Kayo Freebies and 10 Peach.

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