Holy shit this was a close one. While the NBL did indeed score themselves a massive coup in securing a deal to send three local sides to the US for a string of pre-season games against some of the NBA‘s best teams, conventional wisdom suggested the Americans would easily account for their Australian counterparts. Apparently no one told that to Melbourne United.
The Victorian club more than ably hung with the Oklahoma City Thunder in OKC’s pre-season hitout earlier this morning, coming within a whisper of causing an ungodly boilover.
The Thunder, who put serious court minutes into star players Russell Westbrook, Paul George, Carmelo Anthony, and Steven Adams, had to rely on some last-second desperation defence from bench player John Huestis to prevent the United from scoring a stunning upset, holding on for a nailbiting 86 – 85 victory.
One point. Melbourne United from the NBL got within one point of the goddamned Oklahoma City Thunder.
Cop the pair of blocks Huestis had to unleash in the final seconds to prevent the virtually unthinkable from happening.
— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) October 8, 2017
It’s fair to say that OKC were not necessarily at their league-leading best, given the match was – for them at least – merely a pre-season warmup.
But regardless, an Australian side from the NBL getting that close to an NBA team is a hell of an effort. And definitely a wake-up call for certain NBA superstars who “didn’t expect shit” from the Aussie boys in the lead-up to the game.
Reporter: What are you expecting from Melbourne United?
— Sportsbet.com.au (@sportsbetcomau) October 7, 2017
Onya, lads. Way to do us proud. Never forget that that’s hundreds of millions of dollars worth of talent that they pushed to the very limit.
To lose by 1 point to the BIG OK3 and a Kiwi…
— NBL (@NBL) October 8, 2017
United now have a tight turnaround as they travel back to Australia, ahead of their NBL regular season clash against Adelaide this coming Saturday.
The Brisbane Bullets are scheduled to take on the Phoenix Suns on October 13th, in the final of the three-game NBAxNBL crossover series.