Taylor Hawks (8-6) v 2 Cheap Cars Supercity Rangers (2-13)
When: Thursday, 19 July, 7pm (Live Streamed)
Where: Pettigrew Green Arena, Napier
Referees: Yalla Edwards, Hayden Pipe, Rhys Hamilton
Notes: Hawks will host the Rangers for the second time at home, the Hawks winning 93-84 in the first game. The Hawks are two games away from clinching a playoff spot, but if Rams lose then they will only need one. The Rangers will want to avoid their worst record since re-joining the league of 2013 when they went 2-14. Lindsay Tait is currently leading in as-sists at 8.1 per game. Tait is in a race with Rams forward Winston Shepard III who is averaging 7.8 per game. Last week, rebounding was an issue for the Rangers, and they will need to contain centre, Angus Brandt, who in the meeting at Pettigrew Green Arena grabbed 17 rebounds. Hawks guard, Dion Prewster, is averaging 22 points per game in his last three games. Prewster matches up against Rangers import, Clay Wilson, who is averaging 19.6 points, and is shoot-ing the three at 41.6%. Hawks have won both meetings this season, which included a 27 point rout two weeks ago.
SIT Zerofees Sharks (11-4) v The Wheeler Motor Canterbury Rams (8-8)
When: Friday, 20 July, 7pm (Live Streamed)
Where: ILT Stadium, Invercargill
Referees: Matt Bathurst, Gavin Zimmerman, Sam Pan
Notes: The Sharks return home after suffering a shock loss to the Jets. Southland can still finish top of the table but for that to happen they would need to win their remaining games, and the Saints lose the Giants twice. This season the Sharks are 6-1 at home, the only loss was to the Rams 89-77 in Round Eight. The 77 points that Sharks scored was their lowest of the season, they currently lead the league in scoring at 102.2 per game. Match up will be between centres, Michael Karena and Alex Pledger. Karena is coming off a season high 27 points, and his last three games is averaging 19.6 points per game. In his last two games, Pledger, has been limited in his minutes averaging under 19 in both, before that he had grabbed three straight double-doubles, averaging 16 points and 10 rebounds. Winston Shepard III currently leads the league in steals at 2.5 per game, Sharks point guard, Jarrad Weeks, is fourth at 1.9.
Augusta Mountainairs (3-12) v 2 Cheap Cars Supercity Rangers (2-13)
When: Friday, 20 July, 7pm
Where: TSB Stadium, New Plymouth
Referees: Sean Cronin, Tayla Ammunson, Rhys Hamilton
Notes: The Airs currently hold a four game losing streak while the Rangers are at three. Both times this season the Rangers have beaten the Airs, 93-86 in New Plymouth and 103-84 in Auckland. Taranaki have struggled at home with a 1-6 rec-ord. The Airs leading scorer, Javonte Douglas, has missed the last two games with concussion like symptoms. Last week the Airs suffered there worst loss of 41 points, but were also missing their point guard Houston O’Riley. Hopefully they will have Douglas back to match up against Marcel Jones, who is fourth in the league in scoring at 22.8 per game, and fourth in rebounds at 9.8 per game. In the last meeting, Jones tallied 30 points and 14 rebounds.
Mike Pero Nelson Giants (12-3) v Cigna Saints (14-2)
When: Saturday, 21 July, 7pm (Live Streamed)
Where: Trafalgar Centre, Nelson
Referees: Dallas Pickering, Sam Pan, Tayla Ammunson
Notes: The second placed Giants will host the Cigna Saints and meet each other for the first time this season. The two will play each other in consecutive weeks and potentially a third week if they meet in the playoffs. If the Saints win then they will clinch the regular season title. If the Giants win then it will come down to the final round in which either the Saints, Gi-ants, or Sharks could finish top. If Wellington do win then it will be their ninth regular season title. Since 2014, the Saints have dominated the matchups, winning 11 of the last 12. The one Giants win was 98-89 on 28 March, 2016. Match up of the contest will be between the point guards Shea Ili and Kyle Adnam. Ili leads his team in points (23.1) and assists (6.3), Adnam is averaging 20.2 points and 6.5 assists. Last week the Giants were without Finn Delany, who is the joint leader with Adnam in scoring at 20.2 per game. Delany leads the league in 2 point field goal percentage at 69% from the field, second is Saints import LJ Peak at 64.4%.
Taylor Hawks (8-6) v Go Media Jets (3-13)
When: Sunday, 22 July, 3pm (Live Streamed)
Where: Pettigrew Green Arena, Napier
Referees: Melony Wealleans, Duran Whiu, Sherhon Martin
Notes: If the Hawks go 2-0 this week they will clinch a playoff spot no matter the result of the Rams game. But the Jets have proved they are no easy beat in the last few rounds having won two of their last four. The Hawks are 4-2 at home, while the Jets are 1-7 on the road. The two teams have not met since May 3rd when the Hawks won 89-74. The Hawks will try to contain, Jets point guard, Daishon Knight, who is coming of back to back 40 plus point games and is leading the league in scoring at 29.1 points. Knight will go up against arguably one of the best defensive point guards in Jarrod Ken-ny. The Hawks will need to prevent Knight from getting to the free throw line where he leads the league in most free throw attempts at 140 (8.8 attempts per game) in which he has converted on 82%. Current rebounder leader, Kuran Iver-son, may have trouble against the bigger Hawks side of Angus Brandt and Jamie Skeen.