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NBL: Third quarter KOs

EXPERTS call it the "championship quarter" and so far in Round 6 of NBL 2019-20, the third period indeed has been the decider in matches on both sides of the Tasman.

At Auckland's Spark Arena yesterday, New Zealand opened against Melbourne looking ready to reverse its road loss, Glen Rice Jr off the bench to score from his first two touches en route to 26 points at 60 percent despite fouling out in 18:18. Welcome to the NBL.

The Breakers led 53-51 at halftime but were absolutely blitzed by Chris Goulding (pictured) in the third as United went on a match-winning 33-14 spree for the quarter.

Goulding was magnificent, either taking it to the hoop or swishing 3-pointers, he was unguardable, including a four-point play involving Rice fouling him as he dropped a triple from Steph Curry range.

His 16-point period in a 24-point haul turned the game on its ear and virtually clinched it.

To its credit, New Zealand did not go quietly. Trailing 67-84 and tasked with the near-impossible, the Breakers steadily whittled back the deficit, bringing fans at The Breakwater to full voice as they closed within a basket on a Sek Henry dunk.

Free throw makes by Melo Trimble bumped United's lead back to four at 102-98, a free throw by RJ Hampton pegged the deficit back to a long bomb before Casey Prather, in his first appearance for the season, knocked down two free throws to put the win out of New Zealand's reach.

* * *

TONIGHT in Brisbane, it was the Bullets looking the goods against league-leading Sydney, opening with a 33-point first period, Lamar Patterson on his way to a near triple-double with 22 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists.

Didi Louzada was in everything for the Kings and Brad Newley turned back the clock to be strong both outside and also when taking it to the hoop.

Jason Cadee continued to find the mark from range for Brisbane and EJ Singler spliced a couple, Brisbane's 60 points at halftime the highest main interval score by any team this season.

It also was the Bullets' highest halftime tally since returning to the league four years ago.

And then came the "championship quarter", Sydney turning up the defensive screws while rewarding itself offensively to the tune of a 28-8 period!

It was the most stunning and one-sided quarter of the season so far - eclipsing the previous night's record-holder of 19 by United.

Even Craig Moller hit a triple as the Kings ran riot, the usual suspects - Casper Ware, Jae'Sean Tate - prominent and Deshon Taylor also finding his feet.

Like New Zealand before them, the Bullets rallied in the last but an NBA-range 3-pointer by Newley (pictured below) ensured Sydney would go to 2-0 over Brisbane this season.

MELBOURNE UNITED 104 (Goulding 24, Long 22, Trimble 16, Ili 13, Barlow 12; Long 8 rebs; Trimble 5 assts) d NEW ZEALAND BREAKERS 101 (Rice 26, Webster 20, Hampton, Abercrombie 16, Ashley 10; Ashley, Webster 8 rebs; Webster 4 assts) at The Breakwater, Spark Arena. Crowd: 8,371

SYDNEY KINGS 95 (Newley 20, Tate 18, Ware 17, Moller 13, Louzada 11; Bogut 8 rebs; Bruce 7 assts) d BRISBANE BULLETS 85 (Patterson 22, Hodgson 13, Sobey 12, Cadee 11; Patterson 11 rebs; Patterson 7 assts) at The Armoury, Nissan Stadium. Crowd: 3,757

Nov 8

Content, unless otherwise indicated, is © copyright Boti Nagy.