Bullet blast hits target
BRISBANE coach Andrej Lemanis declared desire and defensive toughness were at the heart of the Bullets’ gritty 100-90 victory against Melbourne United last night.
After three straight losses, the Bullets (8-8) drew a line in the sand at the Brisbane Convention Centre to move into the top four and send United (7-9) back to the bottom of the NBL ladder.
United had won four of its previous five outings, but couldn’t contain a Bullets team which had lost four out of five.
Melbourne stars Chris Goulding had 24 points and Todd Blanchfield 20 to be the game’s top scorers, but import point guard Casper Ware was held to 12 points — less than half his average — by defensive dynamo Torrey Craig.
Ware went zero from six from three-point range and three of 13 overall from the field under immense pressure.
Import Jermaine Beal was outstanding for the home team with 20 points and seven assists, while Olympian Cameron Bairstow chimed in with 16 points and eight rebounds.
In his 250th NBL game, forward Anthony Petrie added 15 points in a critical cameo from the bench as Brisbane hit the lead early in the second term and was never headed.
“You could feel there was a collective spirit around that we need to be better … we needed to have a little bit more pride and urgency in our defence and have each other’s backs on defence,” Lemanis said.
“We got into it defensively and we made hard plays when we needed to make hard plays.
“It’s a mindset, an application and a desire to get that done. We’ve got to come out on Monday (against Illawarra) and rediscover that mindset and go again.”
United flew out of the gates for a 7-0 lead with a combination of deadly outside shooting and fast breaks, but Brisbane quickly steadied.
Melbourne led 23-20 at quarter-time through seven points from Goulding, but the Bullets raced to a nine-point gap midway through the second term before being cut back to 50-49 at the half.
Brisbane got out to 79-72 at the last change, and try as they might, the visitors couldn’t make up the deficit.
Coach Dean Demopoulos said Brisbane was more physical and defensively superior.
Import Devin Williams played less than three minutes due to a leg injury which will be assessed in the coming days.
United replaced Cairns on the bottom after the Taipans overran Illawarra 99-82 in yesterday’s other game.
Bullets guard Jermaine Beal bombs away against United in Brisbane last night. Picture: GETTY IMAGES