SIT Zerofees Sharks (7-3) v Taylor Hawks (3-6) (Live Stream via NZ Herald) When: Thursday, May 11 Where: ILT Stadium, Invercargill Referees: Matt Bathurst, Elliot Duncan, Sam Pan Notes: Southland will try to extend their winning streak to five when they play the Hawks who are on a two game winning streak. Sharks are 5-1 at home, last losing at ILT stadium back in March 24. Hawks have only played two games on the road this season, and will play seven of their last nine away. Despite a slow start to the season, the Hawks are only 1.5 games behind third place Rams. Southland did beat the Hawks 101-87 in the last meeting, shooting guard Hayden Allen scored a season high 20 points. Allen has missed the Sharks last two games with a groin injury. Southland have won the last six games between the two. The last time the Hawks defeated the Sharks was in the 2014 semi-finals, the Hawks winning 100-87. Head coach, Ben Hill, is currently 2-0 since joining the Hawks, and would like to take the Hawks to the playoffs for the first time since 2014 when they won the regular season with a 15-3 record. Sharks are currently second place, 2.5 games behind the Saints. They still have a chance to win the regular season which they have done once back in 2015 when they won the title.
Mike Pero Nelson Giants (3-9) v James Blond Supercity Rangers (5-5) When: Friday, May 12 Where: Trafalgar Centre, Nelson Referees: Dallas Pickering, Gavin Zimmerman, Jacob Cromb Notes: The Nelson Giants begin a five game homestand against the Rangers who play a tricky road double-header on back to back nights. The Rangers have struggled of late, losing three of their last four, but they did beat the Giants 99-87 in Round Five. Nelson will want to do a better job of containing small forward Earnest Ross who scored 32 points which included 8 three pointers. After reaching 400 career games, Dillon Boucher will play his 402nd. The all-time games lead-er is Phill Jones who came out of retirement for the second time last week after their leading scorer Kyle Adnam was missing. Jones is now at 407 career games, but it is uncertain if he will return as he played eight minutes against the Hawks. The Giants are currently allowing a league most 94 points per game and are 0-8 when they allow 93 points or more, compared to 3-1 when they keep teams under this amount.
Wellington Saints (11-0) v Taranaki Mountainairs (3-9) When: Friday, May 12 Where: TSB Bank Arena, Wellington Referees: Yalla Edwards, Ryan Jones, Tayla Ammunson Notes: The top placed Wellington Saints will host the bottom of the ladder Airs, who have dropped their last eight. Wellington have already clinched a playoff spot, and will be playing their seventh straight game at home. Wellington will play one more home game before finishing the regular season with five road games. Taranaki have not won against the Saints since 2014, and are going into the game losing nine of the last ten against them. In the last seven games, Taranaki have allowed on average nearly 97 points per game, which they can ill afford to do against Wellington who lead the league in scoring at 102 points per game. Wellington won in the last meeting 100-87 thanks to Corey Webster, who scored 31 points in under 30 minutes.
Taylor Hawks (3-6) v James Blond Supercity Rangers (5-5) When: Saturday, May 13, 7pm Where: Pettigrew Green Arena, Taradale Referees: Melony Wealleans, Elliot Duncan, Jason McCabe Notes: The Hawks return home from Invercargill with a day rest before they play the Rangers who will be coming off a game in Nelson the night before. In the last meeting the Hawks outscored the Rangers 101-95. It has head coach, Ben Hill’s first game with the Hawks and seems to have helped improve their offense which has scored over 100 points in the two wins. This will be a must win for the Rangers as a loss will give the Hawks the tiebreak advantage. If the Hawks win both games this week then they could potentially move into fourth place, but the Rangers would have to drop the game against Nelson. If Rangers can go 2-0 then it will greatly boost there playoff chances as they will play five of their last six at home. One Hawks player who has had good form of late is Tony Tolovae, who is averaging 21 points in his last two games. Tolovae will match up against Mitch McCarron who is the third leading scorer in the competition, averaging 24.1 points per game.
Canterbury Rams (6-6) v SIT Zerofees Sharks (7-3) (Live Stream via NZ Herald) When: Sunday, May 14,7pm Where: Cowles Stadium, Christchurch Referees: Sean Cronin, Gavin Zimmerman, Marty Davison Notes: The Rams lost to the Sharks 105-94 last week, but after trailing by as many as 21 in the second quarter, they were able to tie the game heading into the final quarter. This week the Rams should be a more cohesive unit with McKenzie Moore and Mike Karena both playing their third game. Despite allowing the second most points to be scored against them (93.0), the Rams are still .500, but they cannot allow the Sharks offense to roll as they are 7-0 when they score 95 points or more. Since returning to the league in 2014, the Rams have never lost to the Sharks at Cowles Stadium. This is the first of four straight road games for the Sharks and they will play the Rams again and top four teams, the Saints and Rangers during that stretch. Sharks will want to do a better job of containing Marcel Jones and Jeremy Kendle who combined for 56 points. Since moving to shooting guard, Kendle is averaging 28.5 points in his last two games. The Sharks are 4-0 when Alex Pledger grabs a double-double in points and rebounds.