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Sal's NBL - Week 7 Matchups

2 Cheap Cars Supercity Rangers (0-8) v Cigna Saints (5-1) When: Thursday, May 31, 7pm (Live Streamed) Where: Trusts Arena, Auckland Referees: Dallas Pickering, Ryan Jones, Sherhon Martin Notes: The Rangers will play the Saints for the third and final time in the regular season, and will try to avoid a an 11th straight loss to the Saints, the last win was on 18th May, 2015, 126-118. In the last meeting between the two teams, Wellington only beat the Rangers 98-93, the difference was the third quarter which the Saints outscored them 35-10. Marcel Jones scored 28 in the loss, and will be looking to repeat that performance after averaging 15 points in his last two outings. Saints are coming off arguably their best defensive performance of the season, holding the Hawks to 77 points. One player the Rangers will need to contain is the league leading scorer, Shea Ili, who has scored 23 points or more in all six games, shooting 53% from the field. Ili’s opposition, Lindsay Tait, continues to lead the league in assists at 8.5 per game, Ili is second at 7.5. Tait will be playing his 299th career NBL game. Last week the Rangers allowed both the Sharks and Giants to score over 100 points, making it six out of eight games they have allowed 100 or more.

SIT Zerofees Sharks (5-2) v Augusta Mountainairs (2-5) When: Friday, June 1, 7pm Where: ILT Stadium, Invercargill Referees: Matt Bathurst, Yalla Edwards, Gavin Zimmerman Notes: The Sharks are on a three game winning streak, and have won by an average margin of 27 points. The Airs meanwhile have lost four of their last five. Injuries have hampered the Airs, with import Roger Woods, out for the last two games and then centre, Xavier Smith, injuring his ankle in the first quarter against the Rams. Taranaki currently leads the league in opposition field goal percentage at 42%, the next best team is the Sharks who hold opponents to 44%. The difference between the two teams is that the Airs average a league low 82 points per game while the Sharks average a league high 103.7 points per game. Match up of the game will be between small forwards Javonte Douglas and Orlando Coleman. Douglas is averaging 20.4 points and 10.6 rebounds per game, Coleman is averaging 16.8 points and 8.5 rebounds. Sharks have won 10 of the last 12 between the two, the last time the Airs have won in Southland was on 27th April, 2012, 91-77. This is the only time that they have won in Invercargill.

The Wheeler Motor Canterbury Rams (5-1) v Taylor Hawks (4-3) When: Friday, June 1, 7pm (Live Streamed) Where: Cowles Stadium, Christchurch Referees: Sean Cronin, Hayden Pipe, Sam Pan Notes: The Rams are on a four game winning streak, but will be hosting a desperate Hawks side that has lost two straight and three of their last four. The Hawks have had a tough schedule losing both road games to the Sharks and Saints (both in the top four), and now face two more road games against the other two teams that round out the four. This is the first meeting between the two teams, and in the past it has been the Rams who have dominated the match ups between the two teams winning the last six meetings, the Hawks last beating the Rams on June 21, 2015, 83-74. The Rams are com-ing off a tricky win over the Airs, and they were again led by Winston Shepard III who tallied 19 points, nine rebounds and nine assists. Shepard is currently leading the league in rebounds (11.2 per game) and is fourth in points (22.3), and fifth in assists (6.8). Shepard will go up against Hawks forward, Jamie Skeen, who has struggled of late scoring only two points against the Saints last week, and four points against the Sharks the week before.

Mike Pero Nelson Giants (6-2) v Taylor Hawks (4-3) When: Saturday, June 2, 7pm (Live Streamed) Where: Trafalgar Centre, Nelson Referees: Yalla Edwards, Sean Cronin, Sherhon Martin Notes: The top of the table Giants will play the Hawks for the second time, the Hawks winning 89-85 back in Round Three. In the last meeting it was a battle between the shooting guards Damon Heuir (27 points) and Dion Prewster (22 points). Prewster has been relatively quiet in his last two games, averaging 4.5 points. Finn Delany did not play against the Hawks, which should make a difference as he is coming off a season high 33 points. Since 2016, it has been an even series between the two teams, each winning 3 apiece. A key match up will be between the point guard Jarrod Kenny and Kyle Adnam. Adnam has scored 20 or more points in six of his last seven games. Kenny has increased his offensive pro-duction of late averaging 16 points in his last two games, but last seasons assist champion has only dished a combined four assists in those contests

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