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ANBL favourites Melbourne United crush Adelaide 36ers

Melbourne's Kyle Adnam looks to pass as Adelaide defenders close in.

MARK BRAKE/GETTY IMAGES

Melbourne’s Kyle Adnam looks to pass as Adelaide defenders close in.

Melbourne United have justified their tag as early Australian National Basketball League title favourites after thumping the Adelaide 36ers 99-79 on Saturday.

United overcame potential jetlag following their clash with NBA powerhouse Oklahoma City Thunder last Monday, some early foul woes and a second-quarter knee injury to star American Casey Prather to prevail comfortably and maintain their unbeaten record.

Ex-Sixer Kyle Adnam had a blinder for Melbourne with 23 points, including six three-pointers, while Josh Boone and Casper Ware each scored 18 points apiece.

Adelaide's Majok Deng throws one down.

MARK BRAKE/GETTY IMAGES

Adelaide’s Majok Deng throws one down.

With guard Shannon Shorter absent because of a family bereavement, Sixers captain Mitch Creek and Anthony Drmic were valiant but had minimal support.

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Melbourne's Casper Ware drives against Adelaide's Adam Doyle.

MARK BRAKE/GETTY IMAGES

Melbourne’s Casper Ware drives against Adelaide’s Adam Doyle.

The 36ers trailed 29-14 at quarter-time thanks to a horrendous 2-of-16 from the field and were forced to play catch-up for the duration.

The visitors stretched their lead to 20 points before the tide turned Adelaide’s way in the second as Drmic nailed back-to-back triples and Prather hobbled into the rooms after injuring his knee in a ground-ball collision with Creek.

The margin was 54-48 at halftime and Adelaide inched to within four points early in the third before Melbourne again assumed control, skipping 16 points clear.

The Sixers reduced the margin to 77-70 at the last change but Adelaide lost their way again in the fourth, connecting on a miserable 1-of-16 from the floor as United ran riot across the line.

Melbourne coach Dean Vickerman praised his side’s smart defence.

“For the most part I was happy with the shots we allowed,” he said.

“They’re a points-in-the-paint team and I thought we clogged it up pretty well.

“They weren’t able to get those cheap points that they did on us last week.”

36ers coach Joey Wright admitted his side was beaten in all departments.

“They beat us at pretty much every facet of the game,” he said.

“They did everything well. To cut (the deficit) to seven after the third was a pretty good effort on our behalf but we just couldn’t execute, just couldn’t get shots.”


 – AAP

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