NBL 2014/15 Round 2 Preview: Melbourne United still searching for their first victory

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Melbourne United vs New Zealand Breakers

Sunday 19th October, 2:00pm Local time.

Hisense Arena, Melbourne

Tickets: click here

All eyes will once again be on Melbourne United this week. After losing their first game last week to the Cairns Taipans, the club quickly parted ways with head coach Chris Anstey. United couldn’t turn things around on Friday in the rematch with Taipans either. Melbourne will need to rely on their veteran leaders in David Barlow, Daniel Kickert and Mark Worthington to pull this team together, along with another strong showing from Stephen Dennis in his quest back from injury. Look for Barlow to have a big game today after average showings in the first two.

At the other end, the Breakers Friday night contest ended with a dominant victory against the 36ers. Expect another double double from Ekene Ibekwe, as the athletic big man shouldn’t have too much trouble against the Melbourne frontcourt. Also look for Corey Webster to potentially have another great scoring night, as the guard can fill up the box score in a number of ways.

Key Player

David Barlow

After a 10-point game on Friday, the all-Australian forward will be tasked with stopping Thomas Abercrombie and Corey Webster. If his defense can keep those guys in check Melbourne has a good chance in this game.

The “Down Under Matrix” will have to be big for this club on offense as well. If he can get back to his scoring days with the Sydney Kings, this Melbourne team is stacked from head to toe. He’ll need to get it going from outside and use his athleticism and strength to attack the paint. The Breakers are small all over the court which gives the 6’9 Barlow a big advantage this game. Look for Barlow to get it going right from the start and push his club to their first victory for the season.

What To Watch For

Interim head coach Darryl McDonald #457095564 / gettyimages.com If anyone is under a load of pressure to perform, it has to be United’s new head coach. After management showed it wasn’t afraid to part ways with Chris Anstey, McDonald now has the unenviable task of turning this team around. Can he find a way to make the most of the loaded roster Melbourne boasts? Guess we will have to tune in and find out.

Final Word

Today is the day we finally see the first ever victory for the newly renamed Melbourne club, however expect this to be a close encounter for the full 40 minutes.

Melbourne is back at home today and considering they have not won a game yet this season they should have plenty to play for. With big expectations being placed on the club for the start of the season, look for United to come out firing behind their veteran players. The Breakers will be tough to stop, but if any team has the motivation to do it, it’s the boys from down south.

Melbourne by 2