Melbourne United coach Dean Vickerman.
Melbourne United coach Dean Vickerman. RICHARD WAINWRIGHT

United coach tells players to up the ante

MELBOURNE United coach Dean Vickerman wants his team to be strong off the boards as they attempt to get back to winning ways against bottom-placed Sydney Kings at Hisense Arena tonight.

United surprisingly lost 69-92 to the Cairns Taipans on Thursday night with Vickerman bemoaning his team's desperation.

"We've been out-rebounding teams all year, and that was something that just wasn't acceptable tonight,” he said.

"We talked about it. We knew (the Taipans) had dropped a couple of games here. They were going to be desperate tonight.

"We shot two free throws (in) the second half and it was just effort areas all around; we settled for jumpshots and we didn't box out.”

The Kings, sitting bottom of the ladder with a 2-6 win loss record, have had a terrible start to the campaign which included a calf injury to skipper Kevin Lisch.

Coach Andrew Gaze has looked to fill the hole left by Lisch by signing last season's NBL MVP Jerome Randle on a one-year deal with an option.

Randle will not arrive in time to play tonight but will be available to play against his old club Adelaide 36ers next week.

The Kings have also signed ex-NBA centre Jeremy Tyler on a similar deal.

The former Charlotte Bobcats big man should be ready to come straight into the side for tonight's clash.

Tonight: United v Kings, 4.30pm; 36ers v Hawks 6.30pm (times AEST)

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