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Backcourt duo driving United's NBL revival

AAP logoAAP 1/01/2017

Melbourne United sounded a warning to the rest of the NBL competition after thrashing the Adelaide 36ers on Sunday afternoon.

With dynamic import Casper Ware at the helm, United treated the 3,500-strong crowd at Melbourne's State Netball and Hockey Centre to a dominant display of potent attack and smothering defence in the 104-73 victory.

Riding high on an eight-match winning streak, the 36ers succumbed to Melbourne's defensive pressure as they coughed up 21 turnovers and allowed the home side to shoot 51 per cent from the field, including 13 three-pointers.

Melbourne coach Dean Demopoulos identified shot selection and ball security as the keys to victory against the top-ranked 36ers.

"We only had one turnover in the first half," said Demopoulos.

"That gives you a chance to play defence off of makes, which makes them have to take the ball out of bounds and that can slow a fast team up so it starts there."

Injuries and poor form plagued United through the opening third of the campaign but the arrival of Ware and return to fitness of captain Chris Goulding has played a key role in Melbourne's mid-season revival.

The combination of Ware (30 points, seven assists, no turnovers) and Goulding (20 points, four steals) shone against Adelaide and Demopoulos feels fortunate to have such a talented backcourt tandem at his disposal.

"Casper is gifted offensively and defensively, he's a gifted player just as Chris is," he said. "They are high-level basketball players that have the willingness to pass and that's important and they also play terrific defence.

"Chris has become a really good defensive player," he added. "He's become one of the elite playmakers, to go along with his scoring ability, in the league right now and that's growth and a testament to him."

Melbourne climbs to second spot in the NBL standings on the back of a three-match winning sequence and now hit the road for crucial matches against Illawarra (currently third on the ladder) followed by a rematch with Adelaide.

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