United maintains streak
Trimble comes up big in downtown Arena battle
MELBOURNE United has maintained its NBL momentum with a sixth consecutive victory, beating the Brisbane Bullets 108-94.
Third-placed United improved their win-loss record to 7-4, but only after being pushed all the way by a determined Bullets outfit at Melbourne
Arena yesterday. Melo Trimble scored 25 points for the home side, including a clutch threepointer in the final minutes to put the result beyond doubt, while reserve big man Tohi Smith-Milner added a careerhigh 19 points.
Both teams were on target from long range in an even first half but a 20-8 start to the third quarter put United in the box seat, with Smith-Milner making a major impact off the bench. Jason Cadee connected on five three-pointers to lead the fifth-placed Bullets (5-6) with 18 points while Nathan Sobey added 17.
McCarron handed United the ideal start with eight early points but the Bullets relied on 13 bench points, including a pair of triples from Cam Gliddon, to have the scores locked at 27-27 after the first quarter.
Cadee opened the second period with a run of six points to hand the Bullets their largest lead of the game then added two more three-pointers as the visitors looked ready to pounce.
But Trimble responded for the home side with a 12-point spurt of his own and, with support from Dillon Stith, United grabbed a 49-48 edge at halftime. With Shawn Long struggling to make an impact under the basket, Smith-Milner came up big on offence for United as they surged ahead 69-56.
Lamar Patterson showed signs of life for Brisbane after missing eight of his nine firsthalf shots but Smith-Milner capped a stellar third term with a triple on the buzzer for a 81-72 lead.
Things tightened up again as Brisbane cut the gap to two early in the final quarter but United broke their resistance as David Barlow’s three-pointer extended their lead to nine before back-to-back triples from Trimble and Goulding secured the win.
In Adelaide, import Eric Griffin gave Adelaide’s finals hopes a boost after propelling the 36ers to a thumping 117-100 victory over the New Zealand Breakers.