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NBL 2014/15 Round 20: United triumph over Sydney as they honour foundation members
Melbourne United survived a late scare to come away with the win over the Sydney Kings 95-92.
In front of a crowd of 10,000, United led by as many as 10 points with five minutes to go in the last quarter before some impressive shooting from Sydney closed the gap.
After some pre-game fireworks, some smoke was left in the building that left a sense of occasion and somewhat mystery as to what was about to unfold.
Coach Darryl McDonald said he was proud of his players for the effort they showed, "even in Sydney on Friday, I'm pretty proud of them".
Co-Captain Mark Worthington led the way once again after finding some rhythm with 26 points and six rebounds. Worthington said that after missing a couple of early shots, it started to feel good for him out on the court.
Sydney were valiant in defeat showing some signs of great basketball. Crippled by injuries, the Kings were forced to bring three development players on the trip to Melbourne so that they would have some sort of a bench. Coach Damian Cotter described how proud he was of the team after losing Josh Childress, Angus Brandt and Kevin White at different points during the season.
Jason Cadee once again had a great shooting night against the United team, scoring 23 points and playing the full 40 minutes of the game.
"I shot the ball...other games this year I have been a bit too passive and [Coach Cotter] has been on to me about being more aggressive"
Once again, Most Improved Player candidate Tom Garlepp had a dominant performance scoring 23 points. Garlepp has taken a step forward this year in terms of his offensive production and now is a force for the Kings.
Sydney led the game at the half time break 48-51 but United went into the rooms with all the momentum after an alley oop to McRae got the crowd out of their seats and then a well drawn up play from McDonald gave Daryl Coreltto an open lay-up.
Coming out in the third quarter Melbourne hit three triples from their first four shots to give them a lead.
Star import and second in league scoring Jordan McRae struggled on his own standards having 15 points on 28 per cent shooting. At times he showed a lot of frustration towards the referees when he did not get the call he desired.
Cody Ellis showed some good signs for the future with 14 points and only missing one shot. Ellis also hit a massive shot near the end of the last quarter that gave Sydney a sniff and United fans a small heart attack.
It is a well-known fact that United have struggled with their rebounding this season. In a rare occurrence they beat the Kings in this statistic 35-30. Daniel Kickert brought down eight of those rebounds in a monster effort, he also added 21 points to the total with a great display of inside and outside shooting.
Sydney made it hard for themselves after missing six free throws that could have proved the difference, Kendrick Perry was the main culprit after going 0/3 from the charity stripe.
Melbourne paid tribute to their foundation members by wearing a jersey that each of these members names written on it.
"To have that many people show up, I think it say a lot about what our club is doing" said Coach McDonald about the occasion.
It is back to the start for both teams as they get bodies right and look to next year where they can make an attack on the finals, preparation for them starts now.
Melbourne United 95 (Worthington 26, Kickert 21, Corletto 13)
Sydney Kings 92 (Cadee 23, Garlepp 23, Perry 18)
@ Hisense Arena