Third-quarter defensive dominance paved the way for Melbourne United’s 103-79 runaway NBL thrashing of the Sydney Kings on Saturday.
Third-placed Melbourne’s win at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney was their 11th of the season, keeping them firmly in the hunt for a top-two finish.
Leading the charge were American duo Casper Ware (26 points) and Josh Boone (18), while Australian Olympian Chris Goulding (18) was also instrumental for Melbourne.
The visitors were a threat all night from the perimeter (16 of 32 three-point shots), taking control of the game with a dominant 28-13 third quarter after trailing by two at halftime.
It only got worse for the Kings in the final period, with Melbourne having their way at both ends of the court.
Jerome Randle led Sydney with 26 points, while Perry Ellis added 10.
The Kings started poorly to trail by seven early before fighting back and grabbing their first lead late in the opening period.
Crafty playmaker Ware had the last word of the quarter, sinking a three-point bomb on the buzzer for a 24-23 lead.
Ware quickly took his tally to 14 points in the second period to keep Melbourne narrowly ahead, but the Kings didn’t blink, regaining the upper hand midway through the quarter and taking a 46-44 lead into halftime.
Randle and Todd Blanchfield combined for 21 points in the half, while both teams were red-hot from the three-point line, the Kings making 7/12 shots to Melbourne’s 7/13.
But despite looking promising in the first half, Sydney fell apart in the second half, crashing to their 14th loss in 19 games.
Sydney have a week to prepare for their home game against NBL titleholders Perth, while Melbourne United take on Illawarra next Saturday in Wollongong.
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