Bul­let blast hits tar­get

Sunday Herald Sun - - Sport - GREG DAVIS BRIS­BANE greg.davis@news.com.au

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

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