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Desperate United hammer Hawks to boost playoff hopes

Melbourne United remain in the NBL playoff race after easing to a 95-72 victory over the Illawarra Hawks.

Needing to win all their remaining games to have any hope of reaching the semifinals, United made light work of the bottom-placed Hawks at Melbourne Arena on Saturday to record their 13th win of the season.

Melbourne's superior talent proved too much for the short-handed Hawks as they won every quarter in the 23-point victory to give their percentage a much-needed boost.

United need to defeat Cairns and South East Melbourne in the final round and have other results go their way in order to finish in the top-four.

Chris Goulding drilled six three-pointers on his way to a team-high 20 points while Melo Trimble (13 points, nine assists and three steals) and Shawn Long (13 points, nine rebounds) were also major contributors.

AJ Ogilvy (15 points) and Todd Blanchfield (12) led the way for the Hawks but United held the wooden spooners to 35 per cent shooting for the game.

Blanchfield and former Melbourne centre Josh Boone looked dangerous early for the Hawks but United's shooters combined to connect on six three-pointers to close a scrappy opening quarter with a 24-18 advantage.

After leaving the game in the opening minutes with an ankle complaint, Long made his presence felt in the second period with seven points as United increased their lead to 46-34 at halftime.

United remained in control in the third quarter as they extended their lead to 19 but late baskets from Sam Froling and Angus Glover provided a slight boost for the visitors as they headed into the final quarter trailing 73-57.

But Goulding found his shooting touch in the final quarter, opening the scoring with a triple before adding three more from long distance to boost United's winning margin.