Melbourne United have scored their first win over new cross-town rivals South East Melbourne Phoenix with a 110-98 victory on Saturday night.
Languishing near the bottom of the NBL ladder with a 1-4 record, United led from start to finish at Melbourne Arena to extract some revenge for the Phoenix's three-point win in their maiden derby clash in Round 1.
United's import centre Shawn Long was the dominant figure in the contest as he collected 31 points and 11 rebounds, Chris Goulding (24 points) providing valuable support.
Long stamped his authority on the game with 16 in the first quarter to propel United to a 13-point halftime lead before the Phoenix came charging back in the third quarter.
Coach Dean Vickerman was pleased with United's overall commitment to defence following Monday's tough loss in Cairns but singled out Long for his offensive outburst.
"He was in a zone, didn't matter if it was the three-ball or the post - whatever it was, he just knew where the hole was in that first half," Vickerman said.
But after seeing their lead cut to five, United steadied the ship before taking control of the match in the final stanza.
The result gives last season's grand finalists a major boost ahead of Monday's blockbuster clash with the high-flying Sydney Kings.
Phoenix coach Simon Mitchell gave credit to Long and Goulding for their impact on the result as the Phoenix dropped to 4-2 on the season.
"They were both exceptional tonight, I think they were really responsible for the victory," Mitchell said.
"They bring an emotional element to that team and we were unable to quash that."
Mitch Creek (23 points, seven rebounds, seven assists) battled hard at both ends for the Phoenix while John Roberson and Ben Madgen each added 16.
Long exploded out of the blocks in the opening quarter by connecting on seven-of-eight shots, including twice from long range, to hand United a nine-point advantage.
The Phoenix countered with Keith Benson and Adam Gibson adding scoring punch off the bench but it was not enough to prevent United closing the term ahead 32-26.
United kept the pressure on the Phoenix with a 12-4 start to the second stanza while Mitch McCarron capped a strong first-half performance with a late steal and breakaway dunk for a 55-42 edge at the main break.
Held to two points in the first half, sharpshooter Roberson drilled two three-pointers and Kendall Stephens added another as the home side reduced the margin to five midway through the third quarter.
But Goulding steadied United with four free throws after drawing a shooting foul plus a technical from the Phoenix bench, followed by a deep triple with time expiring for the 80-69 edge heading into the final quarter.
The Phoenix needed a fast start to the fourth term but United veteran David Barlow landed an early blow from beyond the arc and Melo Trimble soon followed suit to push the result beyond the home side's reach.