Melbourne United coach calls for defensive boost for Adelaide 36ers clash


Coach wants more: Melbourne United teammates celebrate following a win over the Breakers. Credit:Getty Images

“We haven’t been at the consistent defensive level we want yet,” Vickerman said.

“The offence is flowing well, we consistently find a way to pass 100 points. Now I’d like us to hold someone under 90 point some time soon.

“I thought we had an opportunity to do that against New Zealand then we gave up 34 points in the last quarter.

“If we can grind out some of those quarters, keep teams under 20, we have got to do that more consistency.”

The Sixers (3-3) have had a similar inconsistent start to the season as United (4-4) and play at a fast tempo as well so Vickerman knows making more defensive stops will be pivotal to slowing them down.

“We have been getting one or two in a stops row but haven’t reeled off four or five,” Vickerman said.

“In the third period [on Thursday], the zone was effective for us and able to get us some stops and out running.

“There are some fouls we can cut out as well but we are playing at a pretty good pace right now.”

As a general rule, Vickerman has always aimed for his sides to keep teams in the low 80s but he’s adjusted that this season.

“I’ve stretched myself to say I’ll accept the high 80s but we are still averaging 95 against at the moment, we have to cut that down,” Vickerman said.

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“It’s probably not surprising with the pace we want to play at but I haven’t looked at our defensive numbers when classified against the pace of play. I’ll have a look at that one.

“We will find a way to get a win.”

While Long, Trimble and captain Chris Goulding have all been in outstanding form, Melbourne will continue to look to the likes of Ili, Prather, Mitch McCarron and others to give them a boost off the bench against a fresh Adelaide side, who haven’t played since last Saturday.

“This is their only game of the weekend and I’m sure they will be thinking we will be tired after what’s happened on our recent games,” Vickerman said.

“We have to find as much energy as possible for that game.”

Melbourne United play Adelaide 36ers at Melbourne Arena on Sunday at 3pm AEDT.

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