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NBL Week 12 Preview

James Blond Supercity Rangers (8-6) v Taylor Hawks (3-11) When: Thursday, June 1, 7pm Where: Trusts Arena, Waitakere Referees: Melony Wealleans, Matt Bathurst, Ryan Jones Notes: The Rangers will play the struggling Hawks who have lost five straight. It is a big weekend for the Rangers who play three games in the space of five days. The series meetings between the two have been split, the Hawks winning 101-95 in Te Awamutu, and the Rangers 95-88 at Pettigrew Arena. The Rangers have won four of their last six, the two losses coming from Wellington. It has been a frustrating five game losing streak for the Hawks, four of the five losses coming under double-digits. The Hawks are coming off a five point loss to the Airs, but after trailing by 29, scored a season high 42 points in the fourth quarter. Everard Bartlett scored 20 of 25 points in the fourth quarter. Bartlett will face Mitch McCarron, who is third in the league in scoring (23.4 ppg) and is averaging 27.5 points in the two games against the Hawks.

SIT Zerofees Sharks (9-6) v Taranaki Mountainairs (4-11) When: Friday, June 2, 7pm Where: ILT Stadium, Invercargill Referees: Sean Cronin, Sam Pan, Jacob Cromb Notes: The Sharks return home after three straight on the road to host the Airs who finally ended their ten game losing streak with a win against the Hawks. Taranaki won the first meeting against the Sharks, but lost by thirty in the second game at ILT Stadium. The big concern for the Sharks is the health of Alex Pledger who missed the last game with suspected concussion like symptoms. Another player the Sharks have sorely missed is veteran shooting guard, Hayden Allen, who has not played since May 11. Taranaki have struggled offensively this season averaging 77.4 points per game, but are coming off a season high 101 points last week. Shooting guard Alonzo Burton has been the Airs second leading scorer, averaging 15 points per game. Burton will go head to head with former Hawks team mate, Luke Aston, who is averaging 11.4 points. The last time Taranaki has won in Invercargill back in 2012. Sharks have been dominant at home, winning six of seven

Canterbury Rams (8-7) v Taranaki Mountainairs (4-11) When: Saturday, June 3, 7pm Where: Cowles Stadium, Christchurch Referees: Matt Bathurst, Ryan Jones, Elliot Duncan Notes: The Canterbury Rams clinched a playoff spot last week with a win over the second placed Sharks. They will now have an opportunity to potentially move up the ladder when they face the Airs who are on a second night of a back to back. Canterbury won the first two meetings between the two, the last win 90-71. Jeremy Kendle scored 29 points in the win. Kendle has be relatively quiet since then, averaging 13 points in his last three. Taranaki small forward Tylor Ongwae has had strong offensive games against the Rams, scoring 33 in the first meeting and 24 in the second. Canterbury will play one more home game after this, ending the season on the road to the James Blond Supercity Rangers. Taranaki will end the season at home against the Hawks in a game likely to determine the wooden spoon.

Taylor Hawks (3-11) v Wellington Saints (16-0) When: Saturday, June 3, 7pm Where: At Pettigrew Green Arena, Taradale Referees: Dallas Pickering, Gavin Zimmerman, Jason McCabe Notes: The Hawks return from a road game in Auckland to host the Saints who are now two games away from potentially being the first team to finish the regular season unbeaten. The two teams have not meet since April 1st. Tthe Hawks played well against Wellington, losing by 11. In the 16 wins this season the Saints have won by an average margin of 15.5 points. Match up of the game will be between Tall Black point guards Shea Ili and Jarrod Kenny. Kenny is leading the league in assists (7.8) followed by Ili (7.0). Ili is leading the league in three-point percentage at 48.2%. The Hawks have not beaten the Saints since the 2014 season which was at in Pettigrew Green Arena, 88-78. Centre, Kareem Johnson had 18 points and 10 rebounds in the win. Johnson has played three games for the Hawks since replacing Greg Fiorentinos, but has played limited minutes, averaging 15.7 minutes a game. The Hawks will need to contain the league lead-ing scorer Corey Webster, who is averaging 31 points in the two games against the Hawks

Mike Pero Nelson Giants (4-11) v James Blond Supercity Rangers (8-6) When: Sunday, June 4, 3pm Where: Trafalgar Centre, Nelson Referees: Yalla Edwards, Hayden Pipe, Sam Pan Notes: The Giants are out of playoff contention, but will try to avoid the series sweep against the Rangers. Despite missing point guard Kyle Adnam in the last meeting against the Rangers, the Giants only lost by five in Nelson. Adnam returned to the Giants lineup last week, scoring 21 against the Saints. Giants have missed their captain, Sam Dempster, who hasn’t played since May 12 against the Rangers. The Giants can ill afford to turn the ball over against the Rangers who have Dillon Boucher (2.4) and Mitch McCarron (2.0) who are first and third in steals per game. After winning six of the first seven meetings since 2013, the Giants have struggled of late against the Rangers winning only one of four.

James Blond Supercity Rangers (8-6) v SIT Zerofees Sharks (9-6) When: Monday, June 5, 7pm Where: Trusts Arena, Waitakere Referees: Dallas Pickering Rhys Hamilton, Tayla Ammunson Notes: The Rangers will play their third game in five games, and it is against the Sharks who will be desperate to get a road win where they have struggled this year, winning only 3-5. If healthy, Dillon Boucher will reach 408 games which ties with Phill Jones. The previous two games have been blowout wins for each side. The Sharks winning 100-73 at home, and the Rangers 112-82 at Te Awamutu. One player who seems to match up well against the Sharks is centre, Nnanna Egwu, who is averaging 25 points against the Sharks, well above his season average of 12.6 points per game. The 112 points scored against the Sharks is the most they have allowed all season, and in there last three losses they have allowed on average 100 points, nearly 15 points more than what they have allowed all year which is tied for the lowest with the Wellington Saints.

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