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Melbourne push OKC all the way in second of three NBL v NBA games

Tue, Oct 10, 4:04pm by Head Editor

Melbourne United played the second of a three-game NBL v NBA series against Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday morning AEST, and they were a single basket away from causing a massive boil over against the star-studded American outfit.

Despite being a $23 outsider heading into the history making clash, the Aussie side were not outclassed, and had a chance to win the game with 15 seconds left on the clock. A win that would have left reigning MVP Russell Westbrook and his teammates red-faced.

The great showing from Melbourne came just 96 hours after the club defeated the Adelaide 36ers some 15,000 kilometres away in their opening NBL game of the season.

The effort is even more staggering given that OKC’s line-up is worth $133 million and the NBL’s salary cap is a meagre $1.1 million per season. Various media agencies are reporting that an NBA team may tour our shores next year, and United’s efforts would have only boosted the chances of that happening.

The last of the three NBA v NBL games takes place on Saturday when the Brisbane Bullets take on the Phoenix Suns. Melbourne’s good showing hasn’t deterred Sportsbet from listing the Bullets as rank outsiders at $15, while the Suns are in at $1.03.

Speaking of the Bullets, they were beaten 96-86 in their NBL opener by the reigning Champions, the Perth Wildcats. The win was setup by American import Bryce Cotton, who scored 17 points in a brilliant first half, which sent a shockwave to the rest of the competition in front of a full house at Perth Arena.

Cairns got the win over Illawarra on Friday night despite losing big-man Nate Jawai to injury, but it was another veteran in Alex Loughton who stepped up in the 88-87 win over the Hawks.

Elsewhere, Sydney struggled from a bout of jet-lag after they opened the NBA v NBL series with a loss to the Utah Jazz, losing to Adelaide by nine points, while the Taipans made it two from two to start their campaign with a comfortable win over the Breakers in Auckland.

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