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Ware shades Randle in classic NBL matchup

NZN 1/01/2017 Adrian Warren

The holiday season is also the happy season for NBL club Melbourne United and especially their red-hot import Casper Ware.

United (10-9) climbed to second after clobbering ladder leaders Adelaide 104-73 in Melbourne on Sunday, with point guard Ware bagging 30 points.

He finished with nine more than league MVP favourite and Adelaide counterpart Jerome Randle in an enthralling head-to-head showdown.

The game overall was a fizzer, with Melbourne dominant from the start and notching their highest score of the season.

Adelaide (11-7) retained top spot after having their eight-match win streak snapped.

It was Melbourne's third win in seven days following a 97-59 Hisense Arena Boxing Day blowout of Brisbane and a 79-78 victory at Cairns, which was secured by a Ware bucket in the last seven seconds.

"It's good to have wins, but we've all just reminded each other that we haven't done anything," Melbourne guard Chris Goulding told Fox Sports.

"We're one game over 500, we can't celebrate yet."

The round delivered much needed wins for Sydney and Perth and a Queensland derby victory for injury-hit Brisbane.

Defending champions Perth (8-9) clambered off the bottom with a gritty come from behind 95-87 away win over Illawarra (10-9).

A 21-6 run to finish the game gave the Wildcats a victory coach Trevor Gleeson rated one of their best of the season.

"We were seven points down late in the fourth quarter and we could have easily rolled over and I guess a couple of weeks ago we would have and lost it by double figures," Gleeson said.

Brisbane (9-10) lost a second power forward for the season with a serious knee injury with Anthony Petrie joining Cam Bairstow on the sidelines.

The Bullets regrouped for their New Year's Eve home game, outscoring Cairns 29-15 in the final quarter to record a 93-76 victory.

SEABL MVP Jeremy Kendle is a potential import addition for Brisbane, though he has a calf niggle.

Slumping Cairns (7-10) have lost four of their last five to slide to the bottom, but coach Aaron Fearne was adamant the Taipans could still make the finals.

"We've dug ourselves a hole here. We're going to have to win some series and do it the hard way," Fearne said.

Sydney (11-10) ended a run of four straight losses and four consecutive home defeats with a 85-80 win over NZ Breakers (8-10).

"We're grateful to come out of it with a win, but the realisation is that you're not going to win an NBL championship playing the way we played today," Kings coach Andrew Gaze said.

They won despite star guard Kevin Lisch making just one of 14 field goal attempts.

Hot prospect William McDowell-White didn't get a run for Sydney after being signed midweek, but one training session with the Kings convinced Gaze of his quality.

The Breakers lost guard David Stockton in the first quarter through injury and coach Paul Henare rued the fact they missed 15 of their 31 free-throw attempts.

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