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R3 Report: Melbourne make it five-straight over Snakes

Melbourne United star Chris Goulding made the big shots as his club recorded their fifth-straight win beating Cairns Taipans at Hisense Arena on Saturday night.

Goulding scored 26 points, 13 of which came in the first quarter, with his fast break dunk topping off a 89-80 win over the Taipans in front of a boisterous crowd of 5489.

Melbourne forward Daniel Kickert added 12 points and made a key basket in the final minutes then Stephen Holt scored 19 points while import Hakim Warrick stood tall in the final quarter pulling in vital rebounds to finish with 11 points and 11 rebounds.

Taipans sixth-man Torrey Craig turned on his best form with 18 points and 10 rebounds while Stephen Weigh scored 14 points and Cameron Gliddon 12 points.

Melbourne coach Dean Demopoulos said his players wouldn’t get ahead of themselves even though they have made a good start.

“We still have a lot of improvement here,” Demopoulos said.

“I know everyone is pretty happy, me included, because it’s not every day you have a start to a season like this, it’s not every day you like being around the people you work with all the time.

“So I’m trying to enjoy it as much as I can and give us the best opportunity to keep it going.

“We don’t have our head in the clouds, we are pretty realistic about this game, who we are and what we need to do in order to reach our potential and we are on that journey.”

Taipans coach Aaron Fearne said his side gave up too many points in the first quarter.

“I thought we battled really hard,” Fearne said.

“We showed some character which we have done the last couple of games but we can’t get enough stops. “We can’t win games giving up 90 points per game, that’s not the way we are going to win ball games in this league.”

Weigh knocked down a three-pointer to start the game and he found eight points in the opening term but as good as he was early, Goulding caught fire for Melbourne while Holt made two three-pointers to keep his side in front.

A Cameron Gliddon alley-oop dunk was a highlight for the visitors but Goulding would score 13 points for the quarter, including a booming three-pointer, as his side maintained a 31-27 lead at the first break.

Melbourne United made a strong start to the second term as a Nate Tomlinson three-pointer pushed their lead to 10 points but the Taipans battled back via Craig and Cameron Tragardh as they trailed 46-38 at half time.

The two clubs were neck and neck in the third term but Melbourne continued to hold their lead although Craig but two late three-point plays from Warrick and rookie guard Igor Hadziomerovic made sure the home side were ahead 68-58.

Midway through the final term Melbourne United looked ready for a comfortable win but late scrapping from the Taipans including baskets from Weigh and Markel Starks dragged them within six points but they couldn’t get any closer.

 Melbourne United play Perth Wildcats at Hisense Arena on Thursday night while the Taipans continue their road trip when they visit New Zealand Breakers in Vector Arena on Wednesday night at 5.30pm AEDT.

Melbourne United 89 (Goulding 26, Holt 19, Kickert 12) Cairns Taipans 80 (Craig 18, Weigh 14, Gliddon 12)

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