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Tassie on brink of NBL title after all-time shot from half-court

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Tassie on brink of NBL title after all-time shot from half-court


A Hail Mary three-point shot from Jack McVeigh with two seconds left on the clock saw Tasmania JackJumpers steal game three from Melbourne United at the death and take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five NBL Championship Series at John Cain Arena on Sunday.

McVeigh, playing his 100th game for the JackJumpers, crossed half court and unleashed a shot for the ages near the midcourt logo.

It was a fitting end to a game three that was full of highlights.

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This was a JackJumpers team with the odds stacked against them, facing a United side that had won its previous 10 games at John Cain Arena and their last 13 games following a loss.

But this Jackies team is made of tough stuff and were not going to lie down.

They relish the chance to upset United, having now won eight of their past 11 games head to head.

The JackJumpers return home and have the chance to clinch a first championship in franchise history in game four.

This would not have been possible if it was not for a fourth quarter onslaught from Major Deng.

Replacing the injured Marcus Lee, who copped some friendly fire in the third quarter, Deng was incredible in the fourth with 15 points on 5/6 shooting.

Deng was scoreless up until that point.

United has some work to do after their first back to back loss in 475 days if they want to climb to the top of the mountain for the first time since 2020-21.

United raced out to an early 11-point lead with the JackJumpers stuck on the starting grid.

Veteran guard Matthew Dellavedova, top scorer in the game with 21 points and eight assists, had United all fired up with eight first quarter points while his team shot at an efficient 58% for the quarter.

Down by just five at quarter time despite being outplayed, the JackJumpers maintained touch with threes to Jack McVeigh and Milton Doyle.

The JackJumpers ramped up the pressure on the defensive end and at times it looked like there was a lid on the United hoop as their efficiency dipped.

With Jordan Crawford quiet in the first half, young gun Sean Macdonald emerged off the bench to provide valuable offensive punch from the guard position as the JackJumpers came all the way back to level the scores late in the second.

The JackJumpers picked apart the United defence in the second, finding open shots from three, with Doyle the main beneficiary with 11 first half points, helping his team to a lead.

But it was United leading by a slender 44-43 at half time courtesy of a Chris Goulding buzzer beating bank shot.

The third quarter was a feast for the eyes as the teams punched and countered.

A prayer shot from Shea Ili had United up four, but McVeigh, in his 100th club game, loomed as a threat for the visitors.

Dellavedova, calling the shots from United, unleashed Luke Travers for an alley-oop bucket, while Travers was a menace on the defensive end, playing a huge role in the change of momentum as United went to three quarter time with a 69-62 lead.

It took a mere 74 seconds for the JackJumpers to erase the seven-point deficit.

Deng was a wildcard up the sleeve of JJs coach Scott Roth, landing two threes and a massive dunk, before McVeigh’s match winner.

Friendly fire

In a tough break, centre Marcus Lee became a victim of some friendly fire in the third period.

Lee got caught under teammate Crawford, who cannonballed into his leg.

Cut out the theatrics

There has been a little too much staging during this championship series.

There have been times when the rewards have been juicy enough for the players to resort to flopping.

Will Magnay picked up a technical foul in the second period for going down a little too easily after contact from Matthew Dellavedova and rightly so, but he could feel hard done by because he was certainly not the first player to flop before being hit with a T.

SCOREBOARD

Melbourne United 91 (Dellavedova 21 Goulding 17 Travers 14) lt Tasmania JackJumpers 93 (McVeigh 18 Deng 15 Doyle 14 Crawford 14)

At John Cain Arena, Melbourne

Originally published as All-time NBL moment as near half-court, last-second winner puts Tassie on the brink of first title

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