SIT Zero Fees Sharks (4-2) v 2 Cheap Cars Supercity Rangers (0-6) When: Thursday, May 24, 7pm (Live Streamed) Where: ILT Stadium, Invercargill Referees: Matt Bathurst, Melony Wealleans, Hayden Pipe Notes: The Sharks have been dominant in their first two home games this season with back to back 30 point wins. The Rangers meanwhile have struggled defensively, allowing a league high 108 points per game. The difficulty for the Rangers will be trying to contain a Sharks side with a multitude of scoring options, currently six players are averaging over 11 points per game. In their loss to the Rams last Sunday, shooting guard, Clay Wilson missed the contest with an ankle injury. In five games Wilson has been averaging 19.8 points, shooting 54.1% from three. Wilson will have to go up against the bigger wingmen, Reuben Te Rangi and Orlando Coleman. Lindsay Tait continues to lead the league in as-sists at 8.5 per game. Tait will go head to head with Jarrad Weeks who is the Sharks leading scorer at 19.5 per game. After this the Sharks will play four in a row at home before four straight on the road
Cigna Saints (3-1) v Go Media Jets (1-5)
When: Friday, May 25, 7pm Where: TSB Bank Arena, Wellington Referees: Dallas Pickering, Rhys Hamilton, Duran Whiu Notes: The Wellington Saints will play two games at home in three days, beginning with the Jets who although have lost two straight, both games were close. So far this season the Jets have hoisted a fair amount of three pointers, leading the league in attempts with 194, which is 32.3 per game, shooting at 26%. The Saints average just under 20 three point at-tempts, despite still averaging over 101 points per game. It will be the match up of the two highest scoring duos in the competition, the Saints back court of Shea Ili and LJ Peak who average a combined 48.3 points, going up against the Jets import duo of Daishon Knight and Kuran Iverson who average a combined 46.1 points per game, which is 55% of the Jets offense. Match up of the game will be between the points guards Ili and Knight. Ili continues to lead the league in scoring at 27.1 points per game, and is second in assists (8.0). Knight is fifth in points (22.8), and fifth in assists (6.3)
Mike Pero Nelson Giants (4-2) v Augusta Mountainairs (2-3) When: Friday, May 25, 7pm Where: Trafalgar Centre, Nelson Referees: Hayden Pipe, Marty Davison, Sherhon Martin Notes: The Giants suffered their first defeat at home last week losing to the Rams 104-90, but managed to bounce back with a close road win over the Jets. The Airs have struggled with injuries, with starting point guard Houston O’Riley missing their last two games, and import Roger Woods missing their win over the Jets. The two teams last met in Round Three, the Giants winning 93-90. Tohi Smith-Milner scored a season high 27 points in the win, and will hopefully be back in the line-up after missing the game versus the Jets. This will be a difficult stretch for the Airs who play six of their next seven on the road. Nelson have won 12 of the last 14 meetings between the two teams.
The Wheeler Motor Canterbury Rams (4-1) v Augusta Mountainairs (2-3) When: Saturday, May 26, 7pm (Live Streamed) Where: Cowles Stadium, Christchurch Referees: Sean Cronin, Gavin Zimmerman, Duran Whiu Notes: The Rams are on a three game winning streak and have leap frogged the rest of the competition to be top of the table. Arguably the Rams are the surprise team of the NBL, as they have a completely new starting five from last year’s semi final roster. Key contributor from last year’s roster, Mike Karena, re-joins the side after a season in Spain. Karena will give the Rams much needed size at the centre position which has been covered by Maxwell Darling who is third in the league in blocks (1.4), and is averaging 11.4 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. The two teams met in Round Three, the Rams winning 104-97 in overtime. Winston Shepard III tallied 23 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists. Shepard is ar-guably an early contender for MVP, currently averaging 23 points, and leads the league in rebounds (11.6). Hopefully the Airs will have forward Roger Woods return to their line-up. Woods scored 30 points and grabbed five steals against the Rams. Shepard will go up against Javonte Douglas who is second in the league in rebounds at 10.6 per game, and is averaging 22.8 points per game. The two players are currently the only two to average a double-double in points and rebounds
Cigna Saints (3-1) v Taylor Hawks (4-2) When: Sunday, May 27, 3pm (Live Streamed) Where: TSB Bank Arena, Wellington Referees: Melony Wealleans, Matt Bathurst, Yalla Edwards Notes: The Saints will host the Hawks for the second time this season, the Saints winning 93-85 in Round Three. The Saints had to outscore the Hawks 28-15 in the fourth quarter. Wellington struggled to contain Hawks forward, Jamie Skeen, who scored 29 points. The Hawks suffered their worst lost of the season by 30 to the Sharks, and have lost two of their last three. Wellington have now won the last eight games against the Hawks, and have not lost at TSB Bank Arena since 2011. Hawks point guard, Jarrod Kenny, is coming off a season high 18 points against the Sharks. Kenny scored 17 against Wellington, but his main priority will be try to contain the league leading score, Shea Ili. Ili had 26 points and eight assists against the Hawks. Expect more from guards Dion Prewster and Ethan Rusbatch, who were very quiet in the loss to the Sharks combining for three points.
2 Cheap Cars Supercity Rangers (0-6) v Mike Pero Nelson Giants (4-2) When: Sunday, May 27, 3pm (Live Streamed) Where: ASB Stadium, Te Awamutu Referees: Dallas Pickering, Sam Pan, Tayla Ammunson Notes: The Rangers will face the Giants for the second time, losing to them 117-68 back in Round One, Damon Heuir scored 25 in the win. Heuir leads his team in scoring, averaging 20.8 points per game. Heuir will go head to head with Clay Wilson who is averaging similar numbers at 19.8 per game. The Rangers will be playing their first game of the season at Te Awamutu, last season they played two games there, going 1-1. After this game the Giants will have a key stretch where they play four of their next five at home. In his last two games Rangers forward, Marcel Jones, is averaging 28.5 points per game. Jones will probably match up against Finn Delany who played only 17 minutes in his last game due to fouling out. Nelson have already equalled their win tally from last season when they finished with a 4-14 record. It is the opposite circumstance for the Rangers who are one loss away from tying last seasons regular season record.