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Winless United to work on NBL finishes

Melbourne United will look to address their late-game woes following a series of narrow defeats in a winless start to the new NBL season.

Last season's grand finalists have crashed to three straight losses with each game decided by clutch shooting from their opponents in the dying stages.

United opened their campaign with defeat in their first meeting with new cross-town rivals South East Melbourne Phoenix, Mitch Creek's three-pointer in the final minute proving the difference.

Terrico White then doubled Melbourne's pain two days later in Perth by nailing a late triple as the Wildcats overcame a nine-point deficit in the final three minutes to win 94-93.

Aiming to open their account in Sunday's rematch with Perth at Melbourne Arena, United led by eight in the final quarter but Bryce Cotton capped another Wildcats comeback with the game-winning basket in the last five seconds of play.

"It was too similar to what we've seen in every game so far," Vickerman said after Cotton's dagger secured a 95-93 win for the visiting Wildcats.

"It was pretty well defended but that (shot) was the end of the game.

"We've put ourselves in a little hole down 0-3 right now and we've got to find a way out."

United only arrived back from the US on Saturday morning after playing the LA Clippers and Sacramento Kings in the NBLxNBA series.

Rather than point the finger at their busy schedule and travel demands as a reason for their slow start, Vickerman and team captain Chris Goulding spruiked the benefits of facing NBA-level opposition as they look to build team chemistry with new signings Melo Trimble and Shawn Long.

"The trip was really beneficial, we spent more time on court together in that little bit than we have in all of preseason," Goulding said.

"It doesn't change the fact we are losing basketball games, and we're sick and tired of it, but we have to keep working together."

Veteran David Barlow made a timely return from a fractured wrist against Perth but Vickerman revealed that Casey Prather is still recovering from knee surgery and would not be available for at least another week.

With two matches on the slate in round four; a home clash with the New Zealand Breakers on Saturday followed by a trip to Cairns on Monday to face the Taipans; United's coach is looking forward to seeing how his squad handle the challenge of earning their first wins of the campaign.

"That's the kind of weekend that we can change our season if we go ahead and get both - that's the focus right now."