Tall Black and NBL legends Dillion Boucher and Lindsay Tait have played their final home game of their careers, but unfortunately they didn’t get the result they would have hope for going down to the Mike Pero Nelson Giants 97-82.
With over 700 combined games, 15 titles, over 8000 points, 3000 assists and a multitude of awards, Boucher and Tait led from the from the front to start the game as the Rangers took an early eight point lead and a four point lead at quarter time. The Rangers were only trailing by four at halftime, but the Giants would present too much firepower in the second half pushing their lead to as many as 25 points.
Boucher, who is the all time leader in games played at 426 again would again play his heart out doing all the intangibles, and showing he still has quick hands grabbing three steals, which included a signature sneaky steal under the hoop on the unsuspecting Jerry Evans which led to a quick reverse layup.
Tait, who earlier in the season played his 300th game, and also notched up over 5000 points, tallied 12 points and nine assists. Tait is set to claim his fourth assist title, currently leading the league at 8.2 per game.
Coming into the game Nelson were without their leading scorer Finn Delany, but they had the luxury of inserting veteran, Mika Vukona, into the starting line-up. It was evident that Vukona wanted to have a big game against his close friends and former team mates collecting a near triple-double of 12 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists.
Nelson in particular overpowered the home side on the boards, winning the battle 59-32. All too often the Giants would receive second chance opportunities which you can ill afford to do against the Giants with the likes of Damon Heuir (30 points) and Kyle Adnam (24 points) who combined for 54 points.
The win now moves the Giants back to second with a 12-3 record. They will return home where next Saturday in an eagerly awaited match up against the Cigna Saints who currently hold the top spot with a 14-2 record. The two teams have yet to play each other this season, and in the next two weeks will play a home and away series before potentially meeting up a third time in the upcoming Final Four on August 4-5.
The Rangers fall to 2-13, and will play their next three on the road to the Hawks, Airs, and Jets in which they will be hoping to finish the season on a high note. Neither of the three teams will be easy to beat though, in particular the in form Go Media Jets who have pulled off another remarkable upset at home with a 94-91 win over the SIT Zerofees Sharks.
After playing in a tough fought double-overtime loss in Christchurch, it was another spirited effort from the Jets led by none other than they diminutive point guard, Daishon Knight, who tallied an incredible stat line of 45 points (15-21 FG), 13 rebounds and seven assists. Forward, Kuran Iverson, was again a monster on the boards with 18 to go along with his 16 points.
The Sharks held a five point lead going into the fourth quarter, and it looked like they may run away with it when they led by as many as eight in the fourth. But a run from the Jets would put them right back in the game and for the majority of the fourth quarter it would be a dog fight with both teams sharing the lead.
The Jets had a three point lead with under a minute to go, but the Sharks would reply with a Conor Morgan three to tie the game. But unlike their previous outing the Jets prevented any chance of overtime when young forward, Theo Johnson, hit the go ahead three to seal the win.
The loss ends a four game winning streak for the Sharks who drop to third with a 12-4 record. Meanwhile the Jets now have claimed their third win which brings them out of last place and close behind the heels of the sixth placed Airs (3-12).
Week 12: Sunday, July 15
At Ballroom Arena, Manawatu
Go Media Jets 94 (Daishon Knight 45, Kuran Iverson 16)
SIT Zerofees Sharks 91 (Conor Morgan 17, Orlandon Coleman 16, James Hunter 13)
At Trusts Arena, Auckland
2 Cheap Cars Supercity Rangers 82 (Marcel Jones 23, Clay Wilson 19, Lindsay Tait 12)
Mike Pero Nelson Giants 97 (Damon Heuir 30, Kyle Adnam 24, Jerry Evans Jr 17)