Melbourne United has claimed a third straight win in the National Basketball League with a 78-70 victory over the Brisbane Bullets in Melbourne on Thursday night.
But the win may come at a price, with captain Chris Goulding being carried from the court with an ankle problem in the final term.
The home side outscored the Bullets 29-10 in the pivotal second quarter, Goulding providing the spark with three triples and a key steal and veteran big man David Andersen nailing a three-pointer to give Melbourne a 41-26 advantage at the main break.
Returning to the NBL after a distinguished career in Europe and the NBA, Andersen played his best game for United with 15 points, four rebounds, three steals and two blocked shots.
Goulding finished with 13 points before going down injured.
Behind a standout effort from former United player Daniel Kickert (23 points), Brisbane closed the margin to six points in the fourth quarter but key baskets to Ramone Moore and Cedric Jackson ensured victory for United.
Former Chicago Bulls forward Cam Bairstow registered 15 points and 9 rebounds in 18 minutes for the Bullets as he plays his way back from a shoulder injury.
Melbourne coach Dean Demopoulos was pleased with the way his side responded after losing their captain with eight minutes left in the match.
"As a group, our collective energy was really positive," he said.
It's something we work on ... today it happened to work for us and we absorbed the loss of Chris and kept going."
Demopoulos was unsure of the severity of Goulding's injury with a home clash against Perth looming on Sunday.
"We feel real bad about Chris ...
hopefully it's not too long."
Brisbane coach Andrej Lemanis saw plenty of positives in his team's performance apart from a damaging second quarter from United.
"I think we are still a new team that hasn't played together before," he said.
"As a result when things get going against us a little bit, we still haven't found our identity to stop the momentum before it kind of gets out of control as it did tonight.
"We lost one quarter in the game, we got smashed in that quarter and that's the one right now that we have got to be able to work our way through."
The Bullets will next face the New Zealand Breakers at home on Saturday night.