Hungry Jack's NBL
Melbourne United v Perth Wildcats Game Preview
Melbourne United v Perth Wildcats When: 3pm (AEST), Sunday 23 October Where: Hisense Arena, Melbourne Broadcast: NBL TV; SBS; Fox Sports; Sky Sports NZ (delayed) United lockdown The biggest news coming out of Melbourne United’s win over the Brisbane Bullets on Thursday was the injury to star guard Chris Goulding. “He’s irreplaceable, you don’t replace him,” coach Dean Demopoulos said. But perhaps just as big a story was the way Melbourne dispatched the dour Bullets. Last season, Melbourne’s average winning score at home was over 90 points, but against Brisbane they grinded out a 78-70 result. While their half-court offence struggled at times against Brisbane’s physicality, United’s locked-in defensive effort held their visitors to 40 per cent shooting and forced 16 turnovers – including 11 in the game-defining first half – generating repeated easy scores in transition. “It was what we’ve been trying to do all year, some days you do it better than others,” Demopoulos said. “I thought we didn’t allow missing shots or not doing well on the offensive end to creep into our defensive mindset, and I thought we took care of the ball.” Melbourne had a similar triumph early last season when they pipped Perth 75-73 at Hisense Arena, and Demopoulos doesn’t seem worried if this Sunday’s clash between the two teams turns out just the same. “It was a tough, grind-it-out game which I'm very, very used to over the years ,probably more used to than the type of game we play with a bunch of threes and up-and-down the floor,” he said. “You’ve got to be able to dance different dances.”
It's literally showtime out here in Perth! @ShowTime_McKay & @cprather24 with the magic ??? pic.twitter.com/4hanyBexBc — NBL (@NBL) October 8, 2016Perth’s success comes from pushing the tempo after defensive stops while limiting their opponent’s ability to do the same, and coach Gleeson liked what he saw against the Hawks. “We’re getting there, we can see the team growing together, and I love how in pressure situations we step up to the plate” he said. “We’ve got to make sure we’ve got the tempo of the game right and most of the time we had that tonight.” Demopoulos is comfortable his team will adjust to however the game is played and get the job done, even with Goulding on the sidelines. “I’m real confident with the guys who have practiced us for extended periods of time. I always feel like we’re going to do the right thing - that’s not true – most of the time I do,” he laughed.