Cigna Saints (14-3) v Mike Pero Nelson Giants (13-3) When: Thursday, 26th July, 7pm (Live Streamed) Where: TSB Bank Arena, Wellington Referees: Melony Wealleans, Sean Cronini, Hayden Pipe Notes: The Saints face the Giants for the second time since last Saturday, the Giants winning 90-87 in overtime. Giants, Damon Heuir had 30 points, and has had back to back 30 point games. Wellington have been strong at home with a 7-1 record, their last loss was the first game of the season to the Sharks. Giants have been good on the road with a 6-1 record. If the Giants win both games this weekend then will win the regular season title, this will be the first time since 1998. The Giants leading scorer and rebounder, Finn Delany, missed the Giants win. After leading the league in scoring for the first half of the competition point guard Shea Ili was kept to 13 points on 4/18 shooting against the Giants. In his last three games he is averaging 12.7 points per game, well below his season average of 22.4 per game.
Augusta Mountainairs (3-13) v SIT Zerofees Sharks (12-4) When: Friday, July 27, 7pm Where: TSB Stadium, New Plymouth Referees: Yalla Edwards, Tayla Ammunson, Rhys Hamilton Notes: The injury ravaged Airs are currently on a five game losing streak, one of those losses was a 112-105 loss at home to the Sharks who will aiming to win both their games in the final round to potentially be crowned regular season champions. Orlando Coleman tallied a double-double of 27 points and 11 rebounds, and is currently the Sharks leading scorer and rebounder averaging 17 points and 9.6 rebounds per game. The Airs leading scorer, Javonte Douglas, has not played for the Airs since July 8th, missing their last three games. No other team has been affected by injuries like the Airs, who have had a combined 16 missed games between their usual main starters, compared to the Sharks whose starters have missed only a combined three games due to injury. Defensively the Airs have struggled in their last three games allowing on average 105 points per game.
The Wheeler Motor Canterbury Rams (8-9) v Taylor Hawks (10-6) When: Friday, July 27, 7pm (Live Streamed) Where: Cowles Stadium, Christchurch Referees: Dallas Pickering, Gavin Zimmerman, Matt Bathurst Notes: The fifth placed Rams will play their final game at home to the Hawks, who eliminated them from playoff competition beating them both times this season. Rams have been competitive for the majority of the games this season, but the issue has been finishing them off, in their last five losses they have lost by an average margin of 5.8 points. One of the losses was a six point loss in the last meeting against the Hawks. Dion Prewster scored 21 points while Rams forward, Julian Williams-Washburn had 28. Washburn has been consistent all season for the Rams, but last week was held to a season low nine points against the Sharks. Rookie, head coach Zico Coronel, is taking the Hawks to the playoffs for the first time since 2014, which was under NZ coaching legend Tab Baldwin who took the team to a 15-3 regular season record. The 2014 side would make the grand finals, which had both Jarrod Kenny and Everard Bartlett on the roster. Bartlett is the only member left from the 2006 Hawks side that won the franchises lone title. Bartlett is playing his 13th NBL season and 11th with the Hawks, he will be playing his 200th NBL game. Taylor Hawks (10-6) v Augusta Mountainairs (3-13) When: Saturday, 28th July, 7pm (Live Streamed) Where: Pettigrew Green Arena, Napier Referees: Yalla Edwards, Tayla Ammunson, Sherhon Martin Notes: The Hawks play host to the Airs for the second time this season, the Airs winning 90-84 in Round Nine. Javonte Douglas and Alonzo Burton combined for 51 points in the win. Burton is one of only two players in the league to make 50 or more three pointers, currently at 50 makes, two behind league leader Clay Wilson. Both Everard Bartlett and Ethan Rusbatch are in the top 10 for made three pointers, Bartlett has the fourth best percentage at 41.7%. The Hawks are currently 6-2 at home, a massive improvement on the last couple of seasons where they won on two of 16. Match up of the game will be between centres Angus Brandt and Xavier Smith. Brandt leads the team in points (15.2 ppg) and rebounds (7.9 rpg). Smith is averaging 13.5 points, 6.7 rebounds and is the league leader in blocks at 1.7 per game. Airs are currently the worst scoring team in the competition at 82.5 points per game, a slight improvement from last season when they aver-aged 77.9 points per game.
Go Media Jets (3-14) v 2 Cheap Cars Supercity Rangers (3-14) When: Sunday, 29th July, 3pm Where: Ballroom Arena, Palmerston North Referees: Sean Cronin, Hayden Pipe, Duran Whiu Notes: The Jets host the Rangers in what will be the final game for Dillon Boucher and Lindsay Tait. Boucher retires as the all time games leader at 428 and has won nine titles, and Tait will finish with 308 games and seven titles. Tait is in a hotly contested race with Rams forward, Winston Shepard III, for the assist title. They are both tied at 131, so it will come down to who dishes out more in their final game. Tait has won the assist title three times. The winner will avoid the wooden spoon, but if the Jets win and the Airs lose both games, then the Rangers will finish ahead of the Airs because of the tiebreak. It was a score fest in the last meeting, the Jets winning in overtime 124-121. Kuran Iverson tallied 32 points, 10 assists and seven steals. Iverson leads the league in rebounds at 11 per game and will go head to head against Marcel Jones who is fourth in rebounds at 10.4. Jets point guard, Daishon Knight, will win the scoring title, currently averaging 29 points per game.
SIT Zerofees Sharks (12-4) v Mike Pero Nelson Giants (13-3) When: Sunday, 29th July, 3pm (Live Streamed) Where: ILT Stadium, Invercargill Referees: Matt Bathurst, Gavin Zimmerman, Sam Pan Notes: Sharks host the Giants in what could end up in a three way tie at the top of the table if Giants beat the Saints and the Sharks then beat the Giants. Sharks will finish on top as have beaten the Saints both times and Giants twice out of three. Giants will finish second due to beating the Saints both times. This is the first meeting in Invercargill where the Sharks have gone 7-1. In his two seasons their home record is 15-2. In the last eight meetings between the two teams, the Sharks are 6-2. Giants have been good on the road, currently 6-1. It will be a battle of the Australian point guards Kyle Adnam and Jarrad Weeks. Weeks dished out 12 assists last week, but struggled offensively in his last three games, averaging only 8.3 points shooting 8/28 (28.6%) from the field. Adnam is fourth in assists at 6.1 per game and Weeks is fifth at 5.9.