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Blowout NBL wins for the Giants, Rams

The Nelson Giants have scored a crucial road win in the National Basketball League (NBL) playoffs race.

The Giants routed the Bay Hawks 96-69 at Napier's Pettigrew Green Arena on Saturday night, moving to the top of a mid-table group of four teams jostling for the sixth and final postseason berth.


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The 27-point win saw the Giants improve to 7-9, one win ahead of the Hawks and Otago Nuggets (6-9) and two ahead of the first-year Tauranga Whai (5-9).

Australian forward Dan Grida lead the Giants with 18 points (6/12 FG, 6/8 FT) and two steals, while NZ Breakers development player Alex McNaught broke out for an efficient 16 points (6/9 FG, 3/5 3pt) and two steals.

Recent Tall Black Dan Fotu recorded a double-double, with 15 points (6/17 FG) and 10 rebounds, American guard Kobe Langley produced 15 points (4/13 FG, 6/6 FT), six boards, six assists and three steals, while Theo Akwuba, Sam Dempster and Nick Davidson also made valuable contributions.

Import guard Isaiah Moore again top-scored for the Hawks, with a game-high 27 points (11/19 FG, 2/3 3pt), four rebounds and four assists, Tall Black Jordan Ngatai dropped 18 points (5/15 FG, 7/7 FT), five boards and two steals, and import Josh Roberts racked up another double-double with 11 points and 14 rebounds.

Alex McNaught Nelson Giants NBL basketball
Alex McNaught hit three triples in his 16 points for the Nelson Giants. PHOTO: NBL

The Giants trailed just once, for a total of 48 seconds early in the first period, as they gave the home crowd little to get excited about.

They led by as many as 10 points in the opening quarter and gradually increased the gap in the second and third periods, before scoring nine straight points late in the fourth to push the margin past 30 points.

In Week 13, the Giants (7-9) are on the road against the Manawatu Jets (1-14) on Saturday (tip-off 7.30pm), while the Hawks (6-9) host the Wellington Saints (10-4) on Thursday (tip-off 7.30pm).

Meanwhile, the defending champion Canterbury Rams' winning streak reached 12 games with a 107-66 demolition of the Manawatu Jets at Christchurch's Cowles Stadium on Saturday night.

KJ Buffen topped the scoring, with 23 points (9/12 FG, 2/3 3pt) and six rebounds off the bench, while Taylor Britt flirted with a triple-double, finishing with 16 points (7/9 FG), six rebounds and seven assists.

Australian centre Lachlan Olbrich recorded another double-double, with 11 points and 11 rebounds, with young guard Kaia Isaac providing 15 points (6/9 FG, 3/5 3pt) and five boards, and forward Walter Brown 13 points (4/9 FG, 2/4 3pt).

American forward Kahlil Whitney was the best for the Jets, with 21 points (7/14 FG, 6/9 FT) and four rebounds, supported by Kiwi James Moors, with 15 points (6/14 FG) and seven boards.

The Rams, who shot 43 percent (14-of-32) on three-point attempts and out-rebounded the Jets 49-33, led by 20 points by halftime, 30 points after three quarters and took it to 40-plus as the benches emptied in the fourth.

Next week, the Rams (13-2) host the Saints in a top-four match-up on Saturday (tip-off 4pm), while the Jets are back at Fly Palmy Arena against the Giants later that night.

Nelson Giants 96 (Dan Grida 18, Alex McNaught 16, Dan Fotu 15, Kobe Langley 15, Theo Akwuba 12) Bay Hawks 69 (Isaiah Moore 27, Jordan Ngatai 18, Josh Roberts 11). 1Q: 22-16, HT: 46-32, 3Q: 74-56

Canterbury Rams 107 (KJ Buffen 23, Taylor Britt 16, Kaia Isaac 15, Walter Brown 13, MJ Walker 12, Lachlan Olbrich 11) Manawatu Jets 66 (Kahlil Whitney 21, James Moors 15, Mustapha Heron 14). 1Q: 22-17, HT: 51-31, 3Q: 80-48


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