2014 Bartercard NBL most outstanding forward Suleiman Braimoh is Round Four player of the week against his former team the Augusta Airs.
Stat Line: 21 points (6/9 FG, 8/11FT), 14 rebounds in the 97-90 win over the Augusta Airs
Braimoh had season highs in points (21) and rebounds (14), helping last year’s runners up IMS Payroll Hawks to win their last two games.
Braimoh’s team mate Zack Atkinson grabbed a double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds, also adding four blocks against the Airs. Atkinson currently leads the league in rebounding at 11.8 per game.
The Mike Pero Nelson Giants are the lone team to remain unbeaten. Import McKenzie Moore scored a season best 33 points in the 92-83 win over the Canterbury Rams.
The James Blond Supercity Rangers knocked off the previously unbeaten Wellington Saints 102-94. Australians Tom Garlepp and Jason Cadee were huge in the victory. Garlepp scored 30 and Cadee added 26 for the 3-2 Rangers.
Zerofees Southland Sharks ended their three game losing streak with an 89-83 win over the Canterbury Rams. Former Townsville Crocodile player Todd Blanchfield scored 21 points and grabbed 18 rebounds which tied the franchise record with former import Rene Rougeau.
Tonight, both the James Blond Supercity Rangers and the Mike Pero Nelson Giants begin their two game road trips.
Augusta Airs (0-5) v Mike Pero Nelson Giants (5-0)
When: Friday, May 1, 6pm
Where: TSB Stadium, New Plymouth
Referees: Tim Brown, Kieran Udy, Jason McCabe
The Augusta Airs have been competitive despite notching a win this season. They have lost all five games by an average margin of only 7.4 points. Nelson are the only unbeaten team in the competition and part of their success is their defense, holding their opponents to a league low 42% shooting. The two teams last met in Round Three, the Giants victorious 83-75. Taranaki did get a huge performance from point guard Chris Hagan who scored 38. Match up of the game will between forwards Aaron Fuller and Josh Duinker. Fuller is leading the league in scoring at 27.8 points and Duinker 17.4 points at 56.5%.
Zerofees Southland Sharks (2-3) v James Blond Supercity Rangers (3-2)
When: Friday, May 1, 7pm
Where: Saxton Stadium, Nelson
Referees: Melony Wealleans, Raewyn Willocks, Hayden Pipe
The Sharks got their season back on track with a win over the Rams, but this week will present another tough test against the Rangers who defeated Wellington on the road last week. The Rangers lead the league in scoring at 98.2 points per game, Southland are third (92.8). Southland have won two of the three last meetings over the Rangers and are yet to lose at home to them. Former Ranger, Duane Bailey will face them for the first time this season. Bailey had a career best season for the Rangers averaging 19.4 points and 9.3 rebounds. Match up of the round will between ANBL players Tai Wesley and Tom Garlepp. Wesley is averaging a double-double of 17 points and 10.2 rebounds, Garlepp is fifth in the league in scoring at 23.8.
Wellington Saints (6-1) v Mike Pero Nelson Giants (5-0)
When: Saturday, May 2, 7pm
Where: TSB Bank Arena, Wellington
Referees: Yalla Edwards, Ryan Jones, Nick Naylor
It is a top of the table clash between the Saints and Giants who sit at first and second respectively. The Giants will move to first if they beat Wellington, but will be playing the second game of a back to back. Wellington defeated the Giants in last year’s semi finals and since 2011 they each won five games apiece. Wellington will probably be without Leon Henry who missed the Saints first loss last week against the Rangers. The battle of the back courts will arguably determine the contest. Saints back court Torrey Craig and Lindsay Tait average a combined 42 points per game and the Nelson American backcourt of McKenzie Moore and Deronn Scott average 35.6 between each other.
IMS Payroll Hawks (2-2) v Breakers Manawatu Jets (0-6)
When: Saturday, May 2, 7pm
Where: Pettigrew Green, Napier
Referees: Miguel Gallardo, Kieran Udy, Shane Jones
The Hawks have won two straight and have a great opportunity to extend this when they host the Jets who have lost six in a row. Manawatu has won three of the last four meetings between the two teams. Both teams have shot poorly from the three point line, the Hawks at 28% and the Jets are the worst at 25%. The Hawks offense has improved averaging 92.5 points compared to the 65.5 in the two losses. Battle of centre’s Nick Horvath and Zack Atkinson, who both have led the NBL in rebounds could play an important part in the result. Horvath has been limited this season through injury, but did give the Jets 20 minutes of court time last week.
Canterbury Rams (4-3) v James Blond Supercity Rangers (3-2)
When: Saturday, May 2, 7pm
Where: Cowles Stadium, Christchurch
Referees: Gavin Zimmerman, Matt Bathurst, Leon Demetriadeis
The Rams are unbeaten at home with three wins and will be pleased to return there after going 1-2 on the road last weekend. Canterbury coach Mark Dickel made the tough choice to release import Kyle Coston for former NBA player Jermaine Taylor, who comes with impressive credentials, being drafted 32nd by the Washington Wizards in the 2009 NBA draft. Taylor is a notable scorer averaging over 26 points in his senior season at University of Central Florida.
The Rangers present a tough test for the Rams, but they will be coming off a game against Southland the previous night. Last season the Rangers beat the Rams both times, Jason Cadee averaging 31 points in the series.
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