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New look United back on track in NBL

AAP logoAAP 18/11/2016

Melbourne United coach Dean Demopoulos described his team as a work in progress that expects to get better after snapping a five-match losing streak on Friday night.

Bottom of the NBL ladder after six rounds, United closed out a tough 84-79 win over the Cairns Taipans at Hisense Arena to help get their disrupted season moving in the right direction.

Melbourne relied on defensive effort to set the tone, restricting the Taipans to just 22 points in the first half, then executed on offence to regain the lead after Cairns hit the front late in the final quarter.

"This was a very, very important game for my group," said Demopoulos. "It's a new group with all the players coming back from injury and, of course, Casper (Ware) coming here.

"So this was really important for us, and we are pleased, but we are only scratching the surface here right now."

Demopoulos complimented his playing group for finding a way to win after a fierce Taipans fightback saw the visitors recover from 14 points down in the third quarter.

"To lose a lead late like that and then overcome that, I think that will serve us well as we go forward here."

Chris Goulding (30 points, eight three-pointers) starred in his first game back from an ankle injury that sidelined him for the past month.

"It held up pretty well, structurally it has been pretty good for all of this week, it was just a pain thing," said Goulding.

"Yeah, all worth it man. That was really good, good to be back out there in my happy place and good to get a win."

Goulding expects his backcourt partnership with new import Ware to develop further, the former NBA point guard showing flashes of his up-tempo style and making some key plays to help close out the match.

"I think I trained two sessions this week with Casper so hopefully, it's a sign of good things to come," he said.

With David Barlow also completing his second match back from a long injury absence, Demopoulos can now prepare for next Saturday night's home clash against the Sydney Kings with a settled roster, though wingman Todd Blanchfield (groin) is no certainty to be passed fit to play.

"It was a good night for Melbourne United and it's only one night." he said.

"We want to string more nights together here but we need to string days in practice together so we have this group working to get better and then take it from there."

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