Melbourne United dominated the Sydney Kings, winning their 5th game of the season. It was aided by exquisite performances from Chris Goulding and Caleb Agada who scored 44 points between them.
Sydney Kings’ hot start inside the opening quarter was down to one man – Xavier Cooks. the tall guard was able to drop 9 points in the first quarter but their opening quarter was also shut down by an outburst of threes from Chris Goulding in the second quarter.
United also started the opening quarter strongly after an impressive eight-point burst from Caleb Agada. The big point guard made his presence known on the defensive end being able to grab five rebounds. In the previous meeting, A first-quarter burst saw United start on a 26-0 run and lead by a new record 29 points at quarter time.
An aggressive start was what Sydney United was missing when they faced Melbourne United just 10 days ago with The Kings only scoring a franchise-low 47 points and shooting the lowest percentage by any team, two of many unwanted NBL records.
Since then the Kings have won consecutive games for the first time this season but that was quickly ended after being defeated by United 82-68.
With the quick ball movement from The Kings and a mix of bad defence from United, The Kings were allowed continuous looks from behind the arc hitting six threes inside the first half. But it is somewhat of roles reversed situation, the Kings defensive mistakes allowed United’s Goulding to shine from three-point range.
Goulding was able to get three good consecutive looks beyond the arch which brought him ever closer to his elusive 600th three-pointer for Melbourne United. The defensive end was better for Melbourne too, holding the Kings to 14 points in the second quarter after giving up 26 of the 40 they scored in the opening two quarters.
United coach Dean Vickerman praised the defensive attitude his side has been displaying over their past stretch of games.
“Defensively we’ve been so good over the last couple of games, I don’t think the way we boxed out and the pressure we applied was at the level or the standard we’ve been playing at.
“And again that happens around the Christmas games, there’s a little sluggishness you know we were aware of it.”
The 33-year-old Goulding continued his three-point dominance immediately hitting a three-pointer at the beginning of the second half. The Australian eventually broke the record for most Melbourne United three-pointers made and finished the opening quarter of the first half with 22 points.
Agada was in attack mode in the third quarter, adding 10 points to his total of 9 from the first half to match Goulding. The Nigerian native also was a big presence in the paint on defence for United, forcing bad looks for Kings guards Angus Glover and Shaun Bruce.
The 27-year-old continued his impressive second-half performance, hitting down a number of tough shots to further United’s lead by 11 points heading into the final 5 minutes of the highly contested game and finished his game with 24 points, 13 rebounds and 3 assists.
“Our offensive was okay the first quarter but once we applied the pressure and we held them to 14 it felt like we were playing the basketball we played from the last couple of games” Dean Vickerman said.
“I love it here, everything is really good I am comfortable, happy and we are winning games so that’s all that matters,” Agada added.
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“Chris is a hell of a player, from a shooter standpoint I’ve never played with someone like him when I see him start making those shots especially in the second quarter when he really started going, it pumped me and made me lock in knowing that a guy is going to be able to score helps me affect the game in others ways,” Agada said.
“We have spoken about it as a group, this was obviously a series that we wanted to win it is a little unique playing the same time three times in our first five games and we found a way to get a win against a team that we had to play two games at their place and winning a series on a road was the key for us today,” Vickerman lauded.
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