Australian NBA star Joe Ingles may live 13,601 kilometres away from Victoria but it hasn’t stopped him inspiring Melbourne United to reach great heights this NBL season.
United coach Dean Vickerman revealed how Ingles and his in-form Jazz have motivated his side to set high standards heading into Sunday‘s derby against the South East Melbourne Phoenix in Bendigo.
It comes on a day when the Boomers swingman starred for Utah with 21 points against Dallas to help the Jazz claim a 10th straight win and the NBA’s best record.
And according to Vickerman, Inglis’ influence from afar is having a significant impact on his team.
“I quoted Joe just coming out and saying that they (Utah) had won all these games in a row and their practice was at an amazing level because they just want to keep winning,” Vickerman said.
“That was certainly the message that I sent our group.
“We challenged ourselves to say that we don’t believe that there is a team that can beat us when we play our best.
“That is on everybody right now. That is on the coaching staff and every player in our organisation to go ahead and prepare that way and compete that way every day.”
Chris Goulding has been outstanding for Melbourne United in the team’s opening two wins over Adelaide and Cairns. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images
United has lived up to their championship favouritism to start the NBL season following impressive wins over Adelaide and Cairns.
Despite the strong form, Vickerman knows his side can take nothing for granted against a talented Phoenix side led by the likes of Mitch Creek and Cam Gliddon.
“All the Throwdowns are always memorable,” he said.
“We didn’t win the first one last year, so that is something that I want to make a change and really come out and get our home win.
“They have got some travel (to Perth on Friday) and different things going on, so I think it is a great time to be playing them.”
United take on the Phoenix in Bendigo from 3pm on Sunday.
In other Australian NBA news, Ben Simmons picked up his 31st career triple-double in a huge win over LeBron James’ championship-winning Los Angeles Lakers.
Simmons finished with 17 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in a 107-106 triumph against the Lakers.
Fellow Australian Patty Mills also impressed in San Antonio’s 110-106 win over Boston, finishing with 12 points.
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