Melb United thrash Breakers by 35 in NBL

Fraser Barton |

Ladder leaders Melbourne United have put on a clinic as they thumped the New Zealand Breakers 108-73, cruising to their 11th win of the NBL season.

After opening a 30-20 buffer in the first quarter, United’s lead ballooned out to 30 points at the main break as they torched the battling Breakers (4-10) offensively and put the clamps on defensively. 

United (11-4) put 60 points on by halftime – the highest halftime score of the season – before also finishing with the highest fulltime score – in what was an utter domination from start to finish at John Cain Arena. 

Their first-half performance was an exhibition in precision team basketball, distributing the ball, finding the open man and exploiting the Breakers’ lapses in coverage.

They had 18 assists on 21 field goal attempts in the opening half, hitting six of their 17 attempts from deep, before finishing with 31 dimes and 46 per cent.

“I just liked the consistency of effort,” United coach Dean Vickerman said.

“Having 31 assists is certainly something that we’ve been preaching about; how we move the basketball and how we get others involved and share it.

“I thought everybody was into the celebration of rewarding that extra ball movement tonight.

“‘I’m not sure if this club has had 31 assists since I’ve been here. So really pleased with that.”

Caleb Agada top-scored for Melbourne with 17 points, nine rebounds and five assists as they finished with seven players in double figures. 

The Breakers’ inconsistencies were on full display as Dan Shamir’s side struggled to find any sort of rhythm in offence.

But there were positive signs from Next Star Hugo Besson (17 points) and American import Peyton Siva (17 points).

“Losing a game by 35 there’s really not a lot to say,” said Shamir.

“First of all, hats off to United –  everything that they’re doing, the way they impact the game definitely shows why they are in the first place and we are not.

“Obviously, not a good day for us on a lot fronts and other levels, but I think we’re better than that.

“So that’s definitely what my feeling is. Okay, we showed up today, got punched hard, but I think we’re better than that.”