Melbourne United keep season alive
Melbourne United are still in the finals hunt after a gritty 77-67 win over an undermanned Perth Wildcats, in an open air game at Melbourne Arena on Wednesday night.
Both teams paid tribute to the passing of Basketball legend Kobe Bryant before the match, with 24 seconds of applause before tip off before both teams intentionally conceded 24 second shot clock violations, in honour of his playing number at the Los Angeles Lakers.
In what was a must win game for the home side United led for the duration of the match, opening up a 13 point advantage at quarter time off the back of some Shawn Long brilliance with support from Chris Goulding and Melo Trimble.
Perth found a way back in the second as youngster Wani Swanka Lo Buluk showcased his potential, seeing more court time due to the late withdrawal of import Terrico White, who missed the game through soreness.
In an error riddled third term both teams had their moments but failed to capitalise, United extending their lead from six points to seven at the final break.
Perth were off colour from long range, shooting one of sixteen from beyond the arc to three quarter time before Nick Kay broke the ice at the start of the final term.
It wouldn't be enough though for Perth, Mitch McCarron and youngster Jo Lual Acuil coming up with some clutch baskets down the stretch to help United to their 12th win of the season.
Both teams shot poorly from the field, Melbourne shooting at 41% and Perth a poor 37% in a game that struggled to reach great heights.
Both teams return to action on Saturday, Melbourne heading to Nissan Arena to play the Brisbane Bullets while the Wildcats host ladder leaders Sydney Kings in the game of the round at RAC Arena on Saturday night.
MELBOURNE 77 (Goulding 17, Lual-Acuil 16, McCarron 12)
PERTH 67 (Kay 23, Cotton 21, Plumlee 9)
IMAGE: The West Australian.