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Ware fires as United smash Breakers in NBL

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 4/12/2016 Michael Ramsey

Casper Ware of Melbourne United celebrates after hitting a three point shot. © Scott Barbour/Getty Images Casper Ware of Melbourne United celebrates after hitting a three point shot. Melbourne United have continued their NBL resurgence, cruising to a 98-74 home victory over the New Zealand Breakers on Sunday.

New import Casper Ware showed exactly why Melbourne rated him so highly, scoring 26 points, while Chris Goulding added 14 points as United claimed their third straight win.

But it was United's hustle on the defensive end that will have coach Dean Demopoulos smiling, with the Breakers smashed on the glass and outplayed in transition.

Shooting guard Kirk Penney started strongly for the Breakers, draining three shots from beyond the arc to finish the first quarter with 12 points.

There was nothing separating the two sides at the first break but a sluggish second quarter from the Breakers handed Melbourne a 10-point halftime lead.

Coach Paul Henare had criticised his side's 'soft' defence and poor decision-making earlier in the week but the Breakers appeared not to have heeded the message, racking up 10 first-half turnovers compared to Melbourne's three.

Mika Vukona of the New Zealand Breakers drives to the basket during the round nine NBL match between Melbourne United and New Zealand Breakers at Hisense Arena. © Scott Barbour/Getty Images Mika Vukona of the New Zealand Breakers drives to the basket during the round nine NBL match between Melbourne United and New Zealand Breakers at Hisense Arena. Things went from bad to worse for the visitors, who managed just 13 points in the third quarter as Melbourne's lead blew out.

The Breakers' frustration boiled over in the final term, with forward Mika Vukona pinged for an unsportsmanlike foul after grabbing Melbourne's Owen Odigie in a headlock.

After a lacklustre start to the season which culminated in former MVP Cedric Jackson's axing, Melbourne look a completely different team with replacement import Ware running the point.

David Stockton of the New Zealand Breakers controls the ball as Casper Ware of Melbourne United defends. © Scott Barbour/Getty Images David Stockton of the New Zealand Breakers controls the ball as Casper Ware of Melbourne United defends. While not a classic playmaker like Jackson, Ware's aggression on the offensive end has proven to be exactly what United needed.

The former Philadelphia 76ers guard showed his full array of tricks against the Breakers, driving towards the basket at a blistering pace while also draining five shots from beyond the arc.

Melbourne (six wins, seven losses) have won all three of their games since bringing Ware into the side.

Breakers star Corey Webster, who was arrested on a minor assault charge earlier in the week, top-scored for his side but was hot and cold in his return from a one-game suspension.

Webster scored 10 points on 5-5 shooting in the second term but only added another five points for the game.

Melbourne forward Todd Blanchfield, who was sidelined for a month with a groin injury, played just nine minutes in his return game, scoring two points.

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