Basketball: Two long streaks end in NZ NBL

Todd Blanchfield of the Sharks shoots during the National Basketball League grand final. Photo / Getty Images
Todd Blanchfield of the Sharks shoots during the National Basketball League grand final. Photo / Getty Images

After a tough defeat to the Canterbury Rams last night, the Mike Pero Nelson Giants have bounced back in emphatic style with a 106-80 win over the SIT Zerofees Sharks.

The defending champions were coming into the game with an NBL record 16 straight wins, but tonight it was all Giants as they put together a clinical performance.

Four of the Giants starters scored 20 or more points, NZ Breakers development player Finn Delaney notching up 25 points and 13 rebounds.

Nelson dominated the boards, outrebounding the Sharks 49-27. As a team they shot 45% from three-point range and overall 53% from the field.

It was always going to be a tricky game for the Sharks who haven't had the greatest pre-season with the likes of Alex Pledger, Everard Bartlett and head coach Judd Flavell only recently joining the team.

Pledger had 13 points in just under 25 minutes on the bench, new imports Nick Kay and Jordair Jett scoring 15 and 14 respectively.

The one silver lining in tonight's game for the Sharks was guard Derone Raukawa, who provided instant offense off the bench with a team high 20 points.

In the North Shore, another streak has ended, this time being the Taranaki Mountainairs, who have ended their 19 game losing streak with an 87-78 win over the James Blond Supercity Rangers.

On debut, rookie head coach Ross McMains, has coached his side to their first win since the June 2014 and to top it off it was on the road, where they last won against the Otago Nuggets back in May 2014.

Taranaki stalwart and captain Aaron Bailey-Nowell has been with his side through all of this, so it was fitting that top scored for his side with 23 points.

The Airs' new recruit, Jordan Ngatai added 22, and imports Daniel Miller (15) and Marcus Johnson (11) reached over double digits.

It was not the weekend the Rangers had hoped for dropping their first two games, and tonight they could not hold onto their lead heading into the final quarter, the Airs outscoring them 31-18.

Eric Devendorf led his side with 36 points, but fellow team mates Reuben Te Rangi and Lindsay Tait struggled from the field, shooting a combined 8/27.

- NZ Herald

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