What a difference a week makes – Melbourne United struggle with the Wildcats and the Breakers

What a difference a week makes – Melbourne United struggle with the Wildcats and the Breakers

 

MELBOURNE UNITED: 84 (Prather 16, Ware 15, Wesley 12)

PERTH WILDCATS: 89 (Cotton 18, Brandt 16, Cooke Jr 10)

 

&

 

NEW ZEALND BREAKERS: 88 (Abercrombie 22, Sosa 17, Newbill 15)

MELBOURNE UNITED: 76 (Boone 22, Prather 20, Wesley 9)

 

From 2 – 0 on the road to 2-2 in a week. It was a tough week with two heated games. Against Perth it lived up to the billing and was an exciting physical contest. Both teams were at each other from the off and the Wildcats fans made it even more hostile. A half court bucket was scripted in for Prather on the half time buzzer and things were looking good.

 

Perth took over as the game wore on and Cooke Jr dominated the inside during the end of the 3rd quarter. Foul after foul kept plaguing any come back and Melbourne never really recovered from this and went down in the end.

 

Returning home for the much hyped return and it was the same story. Substitute Abercrombie for Cooke Jr. Abercrombie’s 3rd quarter downed Melbourne and they never fully recovered and began desperate play to try and get back in it. 17 turnovers and 30 free throws also marred this performance where Melbourne suffered from discipline issues on court.

 

Questions resurface about how well the super team can play together. Are they even worthy of the hype from the start of the season? Was it just fatigue or is there other problems Melbourne are still facing?

 

Here are some key takeaways from an unashamed Melbourne United fan.

 

Game highlights and full game review  from Perth go here.

For the full box score, go here.

 

 

Game highlights and full game review  from New Zealand go here.

For the full box score, go here.

 

 

 

THEY NEED TO TRUST THE BENCH

 

Ware Jr, Goulding, Prather, Wesley and Boone opened up for both games over the weekend. It was an exciting moment for Melbourne fans. This was a strong and experienced starting 5.

 

 

The Perth game lived up to the billing but it was noticeable that Prather and Goulding were coming back from injuries. The reception the wildcats gave Prather appeared to shake him but he warmed up into the game and was influential. However it was the returning CG43 who was having an off night.

 

 

On 30 minutes he scored 10 points and was around 50%. His 3 point shot was non existent as he only attempted one. Adnam on the other hand was continuing his form from last week, he played 11 minutes with 11 points on 80% shooting and 100% from 2 down town attempts. What was concerning was Adnam came out of the blocks as soon as he came on and then was sat down for most the rest of the game. Adjusting to the hot player here might have been a smarter strategy and would have even made sense given Goulding was returning from appendicitis surgery. It was disappointing to not see Adnam play more minutes in this one.

 

 

Then we hosted New Zealand. Goulding and Ware were ineffective for large periods of tis game. Ware and Goulding only scoring from deep and 4 from 15 between them. No Peter Hooley wasn’t helping. However Adnam was more technically more efficient again in this one.

 

 

Balancing Goulding and Ware?

 

This one is more of a outcome observation. At the start of the season it was justified to be worried about the Adelaide games. Both away from home against a strong side. We were lucky that Adelaide were having roster issues and we played well. Chris Goulding was missing for both these games. With Goulding’s return, Casper’s effectiveness dropped.

 

 

Should we expect this? Probably. If Goulding can get back into form this question could fade away and be forgotten. For now it looked like they were not quite gelled at the moment and the roles were not clear. Its important to stick by it as their was bound to be some teething problems and it shouldn’t be a surprise with Goulding coming off injury and with Perth and New Zealand in the one week also.

 

 

We can blame the refs but we need to be more disciplined

 

A good week for Prather was marred by foul trouble.

 

In the New Zealand game, the home opener, we struggled with a lack of discipline. Prather was in great form but received 2 fouls at the end of the 2nd quarter. This impacted his effectiveness and he had to adjust his style of play. It was a turning point in the game and Melbourne had no reliable second option for Prather. Everyone in the stadium and online has been quick to blame the refs and it certainly appeared there was some quite questionable calls. However remember these are plaguing all the teams this season so far.

 

 

For Melbourne they need to look at why and what can be done to avoid these fouling situations. We are not the deepest side and early foul trouble can really impact our game. Appears the team need to take a look at what they are doing to end up in the early foul trouble and to adjust too it as it’s not going to get easier. Giving away 30 free throws in a game is a sure fire way to kill momentum and give up far too many easy points.

 

 

Can we just blame the travel?

 

Melbourne went into the round very well travelled to start the season.

 

There is no denying it’s been a jam packed start for Melbourne. All the focus has been on the Oklahoma trip and we faced tough travels to Adelaide either side. Also trips to Perth are tough at the best of times but one day turn around to a home game can make it harder too. Fatigue probably played a part, but we didn’t adjust the game plan either to combat this. Unfortunately trips like these are all part of the NBL and Melbourne will need to get a lot better at the quick turn around and quickly.

 

 

WHAT’S NEXT?

 

@ Brisbane Bullets on Saturday 28 October at 5:30pm AEDT. Watch it on Fox Sports channel 503 or SBS Viceland

 

Brisbane returned to the league this week pretty well. Buford v Prather looks to be shaping up to be an interesting battle and it will also be interesting to see the battle between Trice and Ware Jr. Also Stephen Holt is back in the NBL and coming of a 17 point game against Illawara.

 

It’s up in the Gold Coast and it will be good to see if Melbourne can right the ship before this one.

 

See you next week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jonathan PrestwichAuthor: Jonathan Prestwich (19 Posts)

Jonathan Prestwich is a Melbourne United fan introduced to the game by his children. He missed a half-court shot but they gave him the prize anyway...... maybe they felt sorry for him. Follow him on twitter @johnoprestwich