The 2020 Sal's NBL Showdown has delivered a 208pt bonanza to start the season in Auckland with the Steelformers Taranaki Mountainairs winning 112-96 over the Mike Pero Nelson Giants.
The high-scoring game was full of thrills and spills, along with a number of star performances, none better that the Airs' Derone Raukawa (28pts, 10ast, 5 treys).
The slick guard was the opening pick for the Airs at the Sal's NBL Draft and he didn't disappoint first-up, showing plenty of poise, court leadership and a fleet-footed turn of speed.
Others to impress for the winners included Frances Mulvihill (16pts) and Tai Wynyard (13pts), while Marcel Jones was everywhere with his 13pts, 12rbs, 7ast.
The Airs shot at an impressive 59% clip, a telling advantage against Nelson's 46%.
There was a lot to like about the Giants, particularly given they were without their star-studded top three players in Mika Vukona (quarantine), Mike Karena (ankle) and Dane Brooks (groin). Both Vukona and Karena could be back for the clash against the Nuggets on Thursday.
Best for the Giants included Nic Trathen (23pts), Tom Ingham (23pts) and Tysxun Aiolupotea (20pts).
SkyCity MVP Votes: Derone Raukawa / Airs (10), Frances Mulvihill / Airs (6), Nic Trathen / Giants (5), Tom Ingham / Giants (5), Tai Wynyard / Airs (4).
Photo Credit: PhotoSportNZ