Mike Pero Nelson Giants (3-10) v Taylor Hawks (3-8) When: Friday, May 19, 7pm Where: Trafalgar Centre, Nelson Referees: Sean Cronin, Marty Davison, Sam Pan Notes: Nelson Giants will play the Hawks for the final time in the regular season, and will try to avoid losing a third straight time after they them by 18 in the first game and 23 in the second. The Hawks will be disappointed last week because they lost two games which could have easily have gone the other way. This weekend if they don’t win both then their playoff chances will be all but gone. Nelson were able to compete with the Rangers last week despite missing their leading scorer Kyle Adnam, who has missed their last two games. Adnam averages 17.1 points, and with him out of the side, only Finn Delany and Dion Prewster are the only two Giants players to average over 12 points per game. Hawks centre, Amir Williams, has increased his production of late on the boards, averaging 15.5 in his last two game, and is now aver-aging a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Wellington Saints (12-0) v SIT Zerofees Sharks (9-3) (Live Stream via NZ Herald) When: Friday, May 19, 7pm Where: TSB Bank Arena, Wellington Referees: Melony Wealleans, Yalla Edwards, Hayden Pipe Notes: The Wellington Saints will try to extend their winning streak to 13, but it will be their toughest test yet against the Sharks who have won six straight. Wellington will also be without Tai Wesley who will still with Melbourne United. Southland will need to win if they hope to win the regular season because Saints hold the tiebreak. Wellington have been dominant at home, averaging 104.8 points, winning by an average margin of 20.6 points. Sharks have been one of the best defensive teams in the competition, holding their opponents to a league low 42%. Sharks will have to contain the perimeter, Wellington leads the league in three point percentage at 40%. Match up of the game will be between point guard Mitch Norton and Shea Ili. Ili is currently leading the league in three point percentage (45.7%) and second in assists (7.8), and first equal in steals (2.3). Norton is one of the best defensive guards in the competition, last week holding 2016 MVP McKenzie Moore to nine points on 4/14 shooting, and Jarrod Kenny to eight points on 3/10 from the field.
Canterbury Rams (6-7) v Taylor Hawks (3-8) When: Saturday, May 20, 7pm Where: Cowles Stadium, Christchurch Referees: Matt Bathurst, Elliot Duncan, Jacob Cromb Notes: The Rams have lost three of their last five, but will host the Hawks who will be on the second night of a back to back. This is a must win game for the Hawks who have loss the previous two meetings, both of which were at home. The Hawks have had no answer against Marcel Jones, who in the two wins is averaging 37 points. Jeremy Kendle is averaging 28 points against the Hawks. Everard Bartlett continues to lead his team in scoring at 16.4 points per game, but struggled in the last loss to the Rams, scoring nine points on shooting 2/12 from the field. Canterbury have won five straight against the Hawks, the last Hawks win was 83-74 on June 21, 2015. Expect better production from last year’s MVP, McKenzie Moore, who in his first three games is averaging 11.3 points on 29.7% from the field. Last season Moore averaged 22.4 points on 46.5% shooting.
James Blond Supercity Rangers (7-5) v SIT Zerofees Sharks (9-3) When: Saturday, May 20, 7pm Where: Te Awamutu Events Centre, Te Awamutu Referees: Dallas Pickering, Ryan Jones, Tayla Ammunson Notes: The Rangers play the second home game at Te Awamutu and will try to square the series with the Sharks who beat them by 27 points in their last meeting. The Rangers have only lost one game at home which was in Te Awamutu against the Hawks. The Rangers are 3-0 at Waitakere where they will play four of their last five to end the regular sea-son. In the last game between the two the Sharks were dominant on the inside with Alex Pledger and Nick Kay combining for 45 points and 25 rebounds. It wasn’t such a great performance from the Rangers leading scorer Mitch McCarron, who was held to a season low 11 points on 3/17 shooting. McCarron has been one of the most consistent players in the competition, scoring 20 plus points in nine of 12 games. The Rangers still have a chance to finish in second position, but would have to the win two games against the Sharks to hold the tiebreaker.
Taranaki Mountainairs (3-10) v Wellington Saints (12-0) When: Sunday, May 20, 3pm Where: TSB Stadium, New Plymouth, 3pm Referees: Gavin Zimmerman, Jason McCabe, Rhys Hamilton Notes: Taranaki will try to avoid a tenth straight loss when they host the top of the table Saints. The two teams met last week, and although Taranaki lost by 18, they played a tough first half, leading by one after the first quarter, and trailing by one at half time. Taranaki were finally at full strength with Daniel Gomis back in the line-up after missing seven games. Gomis struggled in his first game back to stay on the court, fouling out in nine minutes. Wellington lead league in field goal percentage at 52% compared to the Airs who are currently last at 41%.Wellington have won 10 of the last 11 games, the win coming at TSB Stadium in the 2014 season, 76-74. One player who will look to have a better game is the Airs leading scorer Tylor Ongwae, who scored only nine points on 3/14 shooting.