Hotshot Goulding not alone on court


He might just have the NBL's best fourth-quarter trump card at his disposal, but Melbourne coach Chris Anstey won't allow the Tigers to become guard Chris Goulding's one-man show.

Melbourne were staring defeat in the face last Saturday against Wollongong before league scoring leader Goulding (24.2 average) saved the day with nine points and an assist in the final three-plus minutes.

He connected on 7/11 threes for the game, including two clutch bombs in the closing minutes, finishing with 30 points.

As much as Anstey appreciates Goulding's ability, particularly in crunch time, he wants to see his side sharing the offensive workload.

"It was a close game and fortunately Chris hit some big shots down the stretch, and he's got the ability to do that, but you don't want to have to rely on it," Anstey said.

"Chris has bought into some of the adjustments we've made offensively and he's unique in this league with his ability to create his own shot and shoot that at a high percentage, if and when the offence breaks down.

"There's not too many players in the league who are better than him at doing that."

Of their two meetings with Wollongong, both in Melbourne, the third-placed Tigers (7-6) have won by four and seven.

They were well in control with an 11-point lead in the second quarter on Saturday, but the Hawks patiently chipped away and took a four-point lead into the final period.

Anstey expects another close contest tonight.

"We let a lead slip and Wollongong were outstanding in the third quarter," he said.

"We feel fortunate to have gotten the result, but we're putting ourselves in a position to win a lot of games now, and sometimes it does take a little bit of luck down the stretch.

"When you play a team in such quick succession, you're going to make adjustments at both ends of the floor.

"I've got a lot of respect for [Wollongong's] Gordie [McLeod] as a coach and we have a lot of respect for them as a club.

"We may have a slightly different look, but you don't want to change everything. It's more a refinement of execution and understanding what we didn't do well, and better decision-making for the entirety of the game.

"It just highlights again how close this is. The difference between sitting in the top four and sitting outside it is one or two baskets."

Anstey said the Hawks have the ability to keep teams guessing at both ends of the court.

"They can score the ball well, especially if their shooters are left open, that's no secret around the league," he said.

"They've got great ball movement and guys who can knock the ball down from the perimeter.

"Their different looks on defence probably caused us a little hesitation. It's certainly different to a lot of other teams in the league and it took a period of time to adjust. I don't think we adjusted great to it, but we've had time to go back and look at it and we'll see how it looks up in Wollongong," Anstey said.

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