The Taranaki Mountainairs horror run in the National Basketball League has continued, being swept aside 106-83 by the Supercity Rangers.
After a 3-1 start to the season, the Airs have now lost seven straight games, including their last three by a combined 85 points.
Without import centre Daniel Gomis the Airs' top-tier defence has fallen off, as have the wheels on the Airs bandwagon as they flounder towards missing the playoffs.
The playoffs are practically set after the Rangers' win tonight. The Rangers had barely scraped together any notable wins, and it can be argued that hasn't changed. Three wins over the Airs go alongside wins over the Nelson Giants and Canterbury Rams to put the Rangers in third with a 5-4 record.
That puts them just ahead of the 5-5 Rams, who will cruise into the playoffs thanks to the returning 2016 MVP McKenzie Moore, and well ahead of the teams outside of the top four.
The Airs (3-8), Giants (3-8) and Bay Hawks (2-6) will all need a miracle to qualify for the Final Four, meaning there is little intrigue left in the regular season.
Tonight, the Rangers struggled for the first half before eventually pulling away in the third quarter. While their display was patchy, the Airs' was much worse, accruing only 11 assists to the Rangers' 28.
Their offensive rebounding kept them in the contest, as Curtis Washington (18 points, 11 rebounds), Alonzo Burton (14 points, eight rebounds) and Tylor Ongwae (19 points, nine rebounds) all were productive on the glass.
However, the Airs defence had too many holes for the high-tempo Rangers to exploit, with Earnest Ross (25 points), Mitch McCarron (28 points, eight rebounds) and the veteran Kiwi duo of Lindsay Tait and Dillon Boucher leading the way.
The Rangers are back in action tomorrow night against the Wellington Saints, who they lost by 36 to in their last meeting, while the Southland Sharks host the Canterbury Rams in Moore's return.