75 Casp of glory
MELBOURNE United has tuned up for Andrew Bogut’s homecoming by resting key players and riding a remarkable shooting performance by guard Casper Ware to a 98-85 road win over Cairns Taipans.
United will host the Melbourne-born former NBA star’s Sydney Kings tomorrow in what some are calling the biggest regular-season game in NBL history.
Ware’s shooting was like something out of NBA2K, the point guard landing eight of his 12 three-point attempts on his way to 32 points — his 16 in the last quarter, the most in United franchise history.
While the American ignited Melbourne’s offence, coach Dean Vickerman was able to try various line-ups, as role players like Pete Hooley (20 minutes) filled the void.
Finals MVP Chris Goulding, who passed a fitness test before the game after suffering a knee injury against Perth Wildcats last week, played less than five minutes.
Ware, who was leading the league in minutes with 40.6 per game, ran into foul trouble in the first half and scored his points in just 26 minutes. He is set for tomorrow’s bout with Sydney’s Jerome Randle.
“It’s a different night, somebody else might go for 30 or something you know?” he said of his meeting with Randle.
“I’m just going to be ready and try lock in.
“We talked about it earlier. We weren’t good at coming back after a win … so we just got to build on this.”
David Barlow, who scored a United career-high 18 points, said it would be business as usual before the blockbuster.
“All of a sudden, now our attention turns to Sydney — do whatever we can to recover, scout, shootaround — standard procedure, do our best on Monday,” Barlow said.
United opened the game on a 9-0 run — drilling a trio of three-pointers inside 90 seconds — and didn’t look back.
Cairns import Melo Trimble played a lone hand, scoring 34 points.