Auckland, where Australian rugby hopes go to die, was instead the site of a resurrection for the NBL’s Melbourne United side.
United looked to be out of the picture, so far as the NBL Grand Final was concerned. They trailed the Breakers in the semi-final by double-digit deficits on multiple occasions, but they found a way to endeavour to persevere and found a way to win in over-time, but the narrow score of 88 – 86.
At times, United trailed by as many as 13 points. Had it been a Wallabies v All Blacks scenario, that 13-point lead would have been all the Kiwis needed to get out their forks to test the Aussies for doneness, but the Aussie basketballers are a different breed.
Chris Goulding made threes when threes were needed. John Boone and Casper Ware turned in clutch performances and Casey Prather made big plays on both ends of the floor.
Boone was the game MVP, scoring a career-high 33 points, securing 15 rebounds and adding into the bargain two blocks and two steals. His offensive rebound and put-back sealed the match for United.
“With this team anybody on the court could have taken that last shot,” Boone said to the Herald Sun. “It just so happened that we have a couple plays in the playbook for that situation. I don’t know that anybody would have expected that the ball would be in my hands at the end of the game.”
Boone described the win as “a bit lucky,” but luck is often a necessity, at least, when we benefit from luck, we are grateful.
It was Boone that forced the game into overtime by hitting one of two free throws at the end of regulation, so if he had so desired, he could have lamented bad luck, as making both free throws would have sealed the win without extra time.