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Red hot United beat 36ers in big NBL win

NZN 1/01/2017 Darren Snowden

Melbourne United have surged into second spot on the NBL ladder after crushing the Adelaide 36ers 104-73.

Riding an eight-match winning streak, the first-placed 36ers were overwhelmed on Sunday afternoon by United's attacking firepower, as the home side tallied 60 points in the first half to thrill the sold-out crowd at the State Netball and Hockey Centre.

Casper Ware (30 points) and Chris Goulding (20) starred for United with solid support from Todd Blanchfield (14) and Tai Wesley (12). United also produced on the defensive end by forcing Adelaide into 21 turnovers.

"It all stems from defence for us," Melbourne captain Chris Goulding said. "We go through games where the pressure isn't that good and that's when we are going to get in trouble or grind out games and we have to slug it out.

"When we lock in from the start and everybody plays really good defence, it generally makes it an easier game for us."

Melbourne won their third straight contest and announced themselves as the hottest team in the NBL heading into the final weeks of the regular season.

The duel between Ware and NBL leading scorer Jerome Randle (21 points) was worth the price of admission but, apart from the efforts of big man Daniel Johnson (14 points and 11 rebounds), Adelaide could not prevent United dominating throughout.

Melbourne exploded out of the blocks as Ware and Blanchfield combined for five three-pointers to build a 27-17 advantage in the first quarter.

Adelaide responded with six straight points to open the second term and stayed in touch until the hosts streaked away by amassing 24 points in the final five minutes to take a 60-43 halftime lead.

Goulding scored 12 points in United's pivotal second-quarter run, including another buzzer-beating triple, while Wesley displayed a series of low-post moves to keep the scoreboard ticking over.

United restricted Adelaide to just eight points in the third quarter to effectively end the contest.

Adelaide coach Joey Wright felt his side's lack of attention to detail was the most disappointing aspect of the loss.

"We didn't do most of the little things," said Wright.

"We didn't play with any passion. Our response to them making big plays or making any plays was pretty much neutral body language.

"We just weren't there tonight."

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