Tall Blacks head coach Paul Henare took the chance in the second and final warm-up scrimmage ahead of the FIBA World Cup qualifiers to focus on his team's own systems in a closed doors game against Qatar in Doha, winning 98-72.
The Tall Blacks Syria in Beirut in their next qualifier on September 13, before they take on Lebanon in Rotorua next Monday.
Henare was pleased with the work from his team during the last few days of training and the in the two games against Qatar.
"There was a lot to like in both games and, of course, there are areas to work on. But the players have certainly improved over the five days, with the two games a chance to put some of that hard work into practice.
"Today is another day of hard work though, with the game against Syria and the travel to Beirut and then back to Rotorua, it really is the last chance for us to work hard on the training floor and refine our systems before the intensity ramps up in the qualifiers."
Qatar are themselves preparing for their own games in the final pool of Asian qualifying, starting with Australia at home on the September 13, and they played with plenty of intensity and shot the ball superbly from deep in the first half, staying within a dozen at halftime, down 52-40.
Rob Loe had the hot hand for the Kiwis in the opening half, with three triples ensuring they had the measure of their hosts, despite Qatar shooting the three at a good clip themselves. Isaac Fotu was going to work inside, with 10 first-half points.
Dion Prewster gave the Tall Blacks momentum in the second half, with a drive through traffic for a tough lay up followed by a block at the defensive end as the New Zealanders showed their intent to play at pace and force the issue at both ends of the floor.
Loe emerged from the bench late in the third and quickly made a steal and another two long range shots to extend the lead to 18, the Cairns big man was being left alone on the arc and was making Qatar pay.
Ethan Rusbatch then got in on the act, with four second half triples of his own and the lead extended to beyond 20, the Bay Hawks shooting guard finished with a team high 18 points.
Loe said he was enjoying the time in camp but knew that the intensity would lift in the actual qualifiers.
"It is good to get a few hit-outs right before the real thing starts this week. The team has played well, we have some things to work on, but we are excited for the first game in Beirut.
"Paulie put in a new system in the last window and it is great for us, everyone is involved, and it is fun to be a part of it. I have always loved being a part of the Tall Blacks culture and this team, this is a great opportunity for us in this window.
"These were just practice games and we wanted to work on things and we did. We have two or three days left to prepare to be firing on all cylinders against Syria and then back home in Rotorua against Lebanon."
The minutes were shared around with the game in Beirut top of mind for Henare, with the entire roster getting an equal share of court time as the days start to run out ahead of the clash with Syria in Beirut and the long journey home to face Lebanon in Rotorua.
Tall Blacks 98 (Rusbatch 18, Loe 17, Fotu 13, Ili 12) Qatar 72 (Tanai 24)
Thanks to Basketball New Zealand, the Rotorua Daily Post has two Tall Blacks singlets, signed by the team, a Mika Vukona Tall Blacks singlet and a match ball used in the game against Hong Kong in Rotorua to give away.
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