Goulding takes Melbourne bench role

Chris Goulding would rather be starting for Melbourne United but accepts the numbers don't lie as his team gather serious momentum heading into the NBL finals.

Boomers star guard Goulding has become the league's most potent bench player, his latest act being 24 points and five assists in the 107-87 thumping of the NZ Breakers in Auckland on Friday.

Since Goulding was hooked from the defending champions' starting five, Melbourne have lodged successive wins over Adelaide, Illawarra and the Breakers. The average winning margin has been 22 points.

The 30-year-old isn't delighted about the change but can't ignore its impact for the ladder leaders.

"Do I want to come off the bench? No. But the team's asked me to do that. As a captain, as a leader, I have to buy into that 100 per cent," he said.

"We're 3-0 so it's what they need from me and I'm going to keep trying to bring my best."

Coach Dean Vickerman says his plans for Goulding are fluid but can guarantee last year's finals MVP will play big minutes and be on court in the closing stages.

While Goulding was sometimes "a little grumpy" about his new role, his display against the Breakers suggested he was nearing 100 per cent fitness and getting set to dominate the last month of the season.

"Chris was in that mode where the game looked really slow for him and he made easy decisions. We're pretty dangerous when we're in that frame of mind," Vickerman said.

Breakers coach Kevin Braswell described Melbourne as the best team in the league.

Braswell couldn't fathom his team's flat start as they slumped to a 25-point halftime deficit but said Melbourne's efficiency at both ends played a part.

The seventh-placed Breakers must somehow unearth a reversal in Sunday's return game in Melbourne and then win their four remaining games to have any hope of booking a play-off berth.

"We've got to dig in deep because this should never happen," Braswell said.

"We'd better player a lot better than this on Sunday because we're really playing for our season."