In the blink of an eye, a genuine NBL rivalry is here

The loud boos that accompanied Melbourne United off the court gave a tantalising taste of what is to come for the NBL's freshest rivalry, with seeds already planted for further 'Throwdown' theatre.

Despite the game being only their sixth in existence, the South East Melbourne Phoenix have built a strong early foothold in the Melbourne basketball scene, as the distinct green of the Phoenix fanbase outnumbered the black of United at Melbourne Arena.

Those parochial 'home' Phoenix fans let United players, and more specifically, Chris Goulding know exactly how they felt about his performance on Saturday night, with one particular moment sparking the furore.

During the third quarter, Goulding worked his way into the left corner, directly in front of the Phoenix bench, before rising up for a three-point attempt with Adam Gibson right in his face.

Despite the fact there appeared to be very little contact on the play, the whistle blew and the Phoenix bench erupted.

Phoenix head coach Simon Mitchell was assessed a technical foul for his reaction to the call, and Goulding subsequently knocked down four free-throws to quell any momentum the 'home' team had built.

"He outsmarted everyone in the gym and got himself to the line," Mitchell said postgame.

Despite the magnitude of the whistle, Mitchell typically refused to place blame anywhere other than his own locker room.

"Don't worry about the referees - we gave up 110 points," he said. "This s--ts on us as a group, we aren't going to be pointing fingers at the officials in this one."

The drama filled moment was not lost on United head coach Dean Vickerman.

"It was a key moment in the game where he backs himself on a three-point shot and gets fouled and their bench kind of loses it and picks up a tech foul," Vickerman said.

"It was a key moment to me right there that we get a four-point play when the game was pretty tight and obviously the crowd don't like that one."

For the rest of the night, Goulding would appear to be jawing with anyone who would listen, thriving in the role of on-court instigator, adding spice to what was already an entertaining show.

The baiting would not be missed by the parochial Phoenix crowd, who would rain Goulding with boos from that point on, a previously unheard-of possibility in Melbourne before this season.

"I don't know when the boos where, I'm so focused in a zone that I don't notice any of that so I can't comment but if that's the case, it was a home game for the Phoenix, not a home game for United, so there will probably be a few more Phoenix fans," Mitch Creek said.

"Last time I checked, whether it's Chris Goulding or Caspar Ware, it doesn't matter who it is on the other team they are probably going to get booed by our fans and that's what I want our fans to do."

In a mouth-watering prospect for fans of the league, the two teams will have little separation time, with 'Throwdown III' on tap in just two weeks, as the foundations of that rivalry continue to bubble to surface.

"It will build over time, but I think good rivalries have both teams winning, so right now we are one each and we are at a point now where it's going to be a battle with who wins the rivalry this year," Vickerman said.

"I think that's a good part about the rivalry, they never quit, they were down, and they just kept coming and that's what's going to shape a good rivalry."