Mike Pero Nelson Giants (8-2) v The Wheeler Motor Canterbury Rams (5-3)
When: Thursday, June 14, 7pm (Live Streamed)
Where: Trafalgar Centre, Nelson
Referees: Dallas Pickering, Yalla Edwards, Marty Davison
Notes: The Giants have won five straight, their last loss was at home to the Rams 104-90, which is their only loss at Trafalgar Centre where they are 5-1. Rams point guard, Xavier Thames, had 24 points in the win, and is recently coming off a sea-son high 31 points against the Saints. Thames will match up against Kyle Adnam who is averaging 19.2 points and 7.1 assists game. Rams leading scorer, Winston Shepard III, will be looking to rebound from his season low 12 points. Shepard is one of the top candidates for MVP so far this season with averages of 20.5 points, 10.5 rebounds and 7.3 assists. Shepard will go up against, Finn Delany, who is averaging nearly 24 points in his last three games. Rams have won the last five of seven played between the two. Forward, Mika Vukona, started in place of injured Jerry Evans III. Vukona will hopefully get more game time after fouling out in 13 minutes against the Jets last week.
Taylor Hawks (5-5) v 2 Cheap Cars Supercity Rangers (1-9)
When: Saturday, June 16, 5pm
Where: Pettigrew Green Arena, Napier
Referees: Ryan Jones, Yalla Edwards, Duran Whiu
Notes: The Hawks have dropped four of their last five and will be in must win mode when they play the Rangers who finally end-ed their nine game losing streak last week. In the last few seasons the Rangers have won seven of the last nine meetings between the two teams. Last year’s assist winner, Jarrod Kenny, will match up against the current assists leader, Lindsay Tait, who is averaging 8.3 per game. Tait will be gunning for his fourth assist title, winning the other three in 2010, 2013, and 2015. In the last two games Kenny has dished out 11 assists in each of them. Last week the Hawks were without Angus Brandt and Everard Bartlett, both should be back in the line-up. Shooting guard, Clay Wilson, played his first game for the Rangers since 27th May, and scored 22 in the win. Marcel Jones continues to be one the best scorers in the competition, currently averaging 22.1 points per game, and is also averaging 8.7 rebounds a game.
SIT Zero Fees Southland Sharks (7-2) v The Wheeler Motor Canterbury Rams (5-3)
When: Friday, June 15, 7pm
Where: ILT Stadium, Invercargill
Referees: Matt Bathurst, Tayla Ammunson, Sherhon Martin
Notes: The Sharks will play their sixth straight game at home where they continue to dominate winning by an average margin of 25.8 points per game. This will be the first game against a current top four team in the Rams who have won all three road games this season. The two teams last met in Round Two, the Sharks winning 108-95. Sharks forward, Orlando Coleman, had 24 points and 13 rebounds. Coleman has had three straight double-doubles, and during that span is aver-aging 20.3 points and 12 rebounds, and is the best offensive rebounder in the league at 4.5 per game. Coleman will probably match up against Shepard who had 26 points, nine rebounds and four steals against them. Last week the Sharks were missing centre, Alex Pledger, who suffered an ankle injury the week before. Sharks currently lead the league in scoring at 104 points per game, and overall they shoot a league high 41% from three. The battle between point guards Jarrad Weeks and Xavier Thames could be the difference in the game. Weeks currently leads the Sharks in scoring (18.2 ppg) and assists (5.3 apg), and Thames is averaging 20.3 points and 3.9 assists per game
Round Eight Preview
Cigna Saints (8-1) v Augusta Mountainairs (2-7)
When: Saturday, June 16, 7pm (Live Streamed)
Where: TSB Bank Arena, Wellington
Referees: Melony Weallens, Hayden Pipe, Sam Pan
Notes: The Cigna Saints return home after winning three straight on the road to play the Airs for the first time this season. The Saints have won eight straight against the Airs, the last loss was 76-74 on June 6, 2014. There are no remaining Airs players from the roster. Forward, Aaron Bailey-Nowell scored 21 points in the win and has been sorely missed for the Airs who have struggled all season with injuries. Hopefully Taranaki will have the full roster available with centre, Xavier Smith, back in the line-up after missing their last two games. Taranaki are currently on four game losing streak, and their only two wins have come against the Jets. Forward, Javonte Douglas has been a double-double machine of late averaging 23 points and 15.3 rebounds in his last three games. Douglas will go head to head with, LJ Peak, who been consistent for the Saints this season, averaging 19.3 points at 56% from the field.
Go Media Jets (1-8) v Cigna Saints (8-1)
When: Sunday, June 17, 3pm
Where: Ballroom Arena, Manawatu
Referees: Sean Cronin, Gavin Zimmerman, Hayden Pipe
Notes: The Go Media will play their first home game since the 20th of May and will be hosting a Saints side that will be coming off a home game the night before and will without their leading scorer, Shea Ili, who will be attending an NBA camp with the Dallas Mavericks. The Jets are currently 0-3 at home, but in their last loss they only were beaten by two points against the Giants. The two teams met in Round Five, the Saints winning 109-101. Shea Ili had 31 points and nine assists. Jets point guard, Daishon Knight, had 22 points and 10 assists, and is coming off back to back thirty plus point games. Knight will go head to head with Il’s back up, Shaun Bruce, who has played more of a shooting guard role along-side Ili. Saints will have to try an contain Knight and Iverson who average a combined 49.1 points per game, which 58% of the Jets total offense.