NBL GRAND FINAL GAME 5: MELBOURNE UNITED 100 vs ADELAIDE 36ERS 82
Melbourne United are NBL champions for the first time with the superstar back court of Chris Goulding and Casper Ware combining for 46 points to deliver the 100-82 Game 5 Grand Final victory over the Adelaide 36ers!
The home team had won the opening four games and that remained the case on Saturday night with Melbourne on top from the start to come away with the 18-point victory.
Melbourne United had not won an NBL playoff game before this season, but now are champions for the first time.
Adelaide still has not won a championship since 2002 but the Sixers deserve to be proud of the part they played in the remarkable series especially after superstar veteran Josh Childress went down with a shoulder injury.
A sell out crowd and a lights out first half Chris and Casper set up the win before Casey Prather and Tai Wesley helped make sure of the win.
Chris was named Larry Sengstock Medallist as grand final MVP.
Adelaide coach Joey Wright praised his side’s fight and said they simply couldn’t match Melbourne while losing the rebound count 46-43 with 16 offensive rebounds was a blow they didn’t recover from.
Chris and Casper had 36 points between them at half-time and at one stage of the second term they led by 18 points but the Sixers have staked their whole season on being relentless and never out of the fight.
The Sixers closed to within 78-69 at three quarter-time as Nathan Sobey, Mitch Creek and Shannon Shorter gave their side a boost but then Casper, Chris and Casey took charge again and made sure of the title.
Chris’s three from the right wing with five minutes to play was a signature moment as it took United to a 23-point lead then with a minute to play he started lapping up the moment with his first title after 256 games.
Joey gave his starters a curtain call with 50 seconds to play, it was fitting acknowledgement for their part in a special series.
Casper finished with 23 points, so did Chris while Casey had 19 points and 11 rebounds in his third straight title win having been there with the Perth Wildcats the past two seasons.
Shannon led Adelaide with 20 points and Daniel Johnson had 17 points while Mitch had 15 points and 10 rebounds.
While he can join in the title celebration, Boomers great David Andersen went down with a calf injury in the second term and did not return.
Mitch said his side would come back stronger for the pain of losing and would support each other.
Melbourne coach Dean Vickerman praised his side’s desire and the play of Tai and Casey and Josh Boone who all missed long parts of the week with illness or minor injuries.
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