Taylor Hawks (7-6) v The Wheeler Motor Canterbury Rams (7-7) When: Thursday, 12 July, 7pm Where: Pettigrew Green Arena, Napier Referees: Dallas Pickering, Sam Pan, Rhys Hmilton Notes: The Hawks will try to further their position in the top four when they play the fifth placed Rams, who will be desperate for the win if they have playoff aspirations. The Hawks beat the Rams 91-76 in Round Six, so a win here would mean they hold the tiebreaker. A win for the Rams could potentially set up a elimination game between the two teams in Round 14 which will be played in Christchurch. Former Ram, Ethan Rusbatch, was player of the Week for his effort against the Rams, tallying 22 points and nine assists. Canterbury have won six of the last seven meetings between the two teams, but are currently riding a three game losing streak. Last week the Rams were without their leading scorer, Xavier Thames, who will be out for this weeks road trip. Thames replacement is former Nelson Giant point guard, Ray Cowels, who scored 19 last week against his former team. Cowles is a notable scorer, leading the league in 2016 averaging 25.7 points per game.
Augusta Mountainairs (3-10) v SIT Zerofees Sharks (10-3) When: Thursday, 12 July, 7pm Where: TSB Stadium, New Plymouth Referees: Melony Wealleans, Hayden Pipe, Tayla Ammunson Notes: The Mountainairs have lost seven of their last eight and will host a Sharks team that has won nine of their last ten. Sharks have won 11 of the last 13 meetings between the two teams, but in the last game at TSB Stadium it was the Airs who upset the Sharks 64-61 on 31st March, 2017. This will be the first of two meetings in New Plymouth, the next game will be in the final round of the season. The Sharks currently lead the league in points per game at 102.3 while the Airs are last at 82.2 per game. In the last meeting between the two teams the Sharks won 92-71. Javonte Douglas had one of his best games in an Airs uniform with 27 points and 19 rebounds. Airs were missing their centre, Xavier Smith, in the loss to the Sharks with an ankle injury. Smith is currently third in the league in blocks at 1.5 per game, and will go head to head with Alex Pledger who is fourth at 1.2.
The Wheeler Motor Canterbury Rams (7-7) v Go Media Jets (2-12) When: Friday, 13 July, 7pm Where: Cowles Stadium, Christchurch Referees: Yalla Edwards, Marty Davison, Duran Whiu Notes: The Rams will play the Jets for the third time this season, the Rams winning the first encounter 118-88 in Round Nine, and then the following week the Jets upset the Rams 95-94 in overtime. It was only the second time out seven games the Jets have beaten the Rams. One player the Rams will want to do a better job of containing is point guard, Daishon Knight, who in the two games is averaging 33.5 points per game. Knight leads the league in scoring at 26.7 per game, and his team mate, Kuran Iverson is second at 24.4 per game. Iverson grabbed 19 rebounds in the win over the Rams, and is averaging 10.1 per game. Jets are currently 2-12 which if they finish without a further win would be the second worst finish in franchise history, in 1987 they went 1-17. Rams forward Winston Shepard, has been relatively quiet in his last four games averaging 16 points per game at 38% from the field. But Shepard is currently second in the league in assists at 7.1 per game.
Cigna Saints (13-2) v Augusta Mountainairs (3-10) When: Saturday, 14 July, 7pm Where: TSB Bank Arena, Wellington Referees: Sean Cronin, Ryan Jones, Gavin Zimmerman Notes: The Cigna Saints will play the Airs for the second time in six days, having to hold off them off for a 77-74 win. The Airs trailed by as many as 17 points to start the fourth quarter, but outscored the Saints 31-17. Taranaki will be disappointed with the second quarter, being held to a season low 3 points. Majok Majok had 18 points and seven rebounds in the win over the Airs. Majok presented issues for Xavier Smith who struggled with foul trouble, playing only 12 minutes. Majok leads the league in rebounds at 11.3 per game and has grabbed eight double-doubles. In the last meeting in Wellington, the Saints won 98-89, but the Airs did lead by as many as 14, they lost the fourth quarter 32-13. Javonte Douglas scored 25 points while Shea Ili had 28. Ili is currently third in the league in most three pointers made at 31. The league leader in three point makes is Alonzo Burton at 39. Burton struggled from the three against the Saints last Sunday, shooting 1-9.
Go Media Jets (2-12) v SIT Zerofees Sharks (10-3) When: Sunday, 15 July, 1pm Where: Ballroom Arena, Manawatu Referees: Ryan Jones, Sam Pan, Sherhon Martin Notes: The Jets will play the Sharks for the third time, but the first at home. In the previous two meetings, the Sharks have won by an average margin of 28.5 points. The Jets have not beaten the Sharks since 2012, and since 2010 have only won 2 of 11. This will be the fourth straight road game for the Sharks who finish the regular season with two of their last at home. Both teams leading scorers are point guards, Daishon Knight is averaging 26.7 points and 4.9 assists for the Jets, and Jarrad Weeks is averaging 18.5 points and 5.6 assists. The Sharks final schedule sees them play the second places Nelson Giants, a win there would mean they hold the tie break against both them and top placed Saints, so if they all finish with the same record then will finish top.
2 Cheap Cars Supercity Rangers (2-12) v Mike Pero Nelson Giants (11-3) When: Sunday, 16 July, 3pm Where: Trusts Arena, Auckland Referees: Dallas Pickering, Gavin Zimmerman, Rhys Hamilton Notes: The Rangers will play their fourth straight home game which will be the final of the season as they play their next three on the road. The Rangers have struggled defensively in their last two game, allowing 114.5 points per game. Earlier in the year the Giants gave the Rangers their worst loss of the season of 49 points. The Rangers did improve in the second meeting at Te Awamutu, losing by 15, but struggled to contain Finn Delany who scored 33. Delany is currently leading the Giants in scoring (20.2 points per game) and rebounds (8.3 per game), and is shooting 60.3% from the field. Delany will match up against the Rangers leading scorer Marcel Jones who is fourth in the league in both scoring (22.8) and rebounds (9.8). In his last NBL season, Lindsay Tait, is set to win the assists title, currently averaging 8.1 per game. This would be the fourth time that he was won the title, winning it in 2010, 2013 & 2015.