The countdown is on to the Final 4 where the Wellington Saints, Hawke's Bay Hawks, Canterbury Rams and Southland Sharks will battle it out for the 2019 Sal's NBL championship. Today we take a look at the one thing that must go right for each team if they hope to hold aloft the NBL trophy on Sunday night.
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WELLINGTON SAINTS - KAY AND LOE
The Saints are stacked with talent and loaded with skills, but like all teams they too will be hoping one of their key strengths blossoms at the business end of the season. Arguably one of Wellington's greatest strengths, and often this season it has proven to be unstoppable, is the high-low play from dual forwards Nick Kay and Rob Loe. Both big men have had a stellar season and when they team up within and around the paint they deliver baskets at an alarmingly high rate. If the Kay and Loe tandem gets going it will almost certainly position the Saints very nicely for championship success.
HAWKE'S BAY HAWKS - 3PT BOMBS
It's an easy go to - if the Hawks are dropping their shots from range they will be incredibly hard to stop. Zico Coronel's team loves to push the ball and just about every player has a green light if the shot is open. In particular, Ethan Rusbatch, Dion Prewster and Brandon Bowman will need to be stopped if they heat up. At their very best the Hawks have shown they can get the scoreboard ticking over faster than any other team. If the rings at Horncastle Arena are kind and the Hawks go at a high clip from range, the Final 4 could be one of the team's most memorable finals weekend's in a long time.
CANTERBURY RAMS - OFFENSIVE OUTPUT
It is a given that the Rams will bring their suffocating defence, a strength that every fellow Final 4 opponent has struggled against at various times during the season. However, as great as their defence is, it's the other end of the court that could prove to be the problem for the hometown team. The Rams must find ways to score, they have to lift their ability to score more freely. Just two weeks ago this weakness was highlighted when the Saints held them to just 3pts in a quarter, the lowest we have seen from any team this season. The one thing that must go right for the Rams? They have to score points!
SOUTHLAND SHARKS - DEFENCE
The Sharks are an extremely talented unit and the longer the season has gone on their depth has increased. Arguably, the reigning champs are playing their best basketball of the season right now, positioning them perfectly to have a real crack at the Saints juggernaut. However, the one thing the Sharks must get right is their defence. Though it has been much better of late, earlier in the season the Sharks were letting in way too many points and for a while there they had the worst defence in the competition. Down the stretch of the regular season the defensive end has become much tighter for the Sharks, but they won't want any slip-ups this weekend.