There are six games in R7 of the Sal's NBL and for a few teams their chances at cracking the Final Four are on the line. Let's look at the biggest questions in this week's Fast Five.
Fast Five - Question 1
Q: Can the Sharks afford to drop a third game in a row?
A: The Sharks currently sit at fourth on the table but have played the most games of any team so far (9). A loss to the Hawks in this round's Thursday Night Lights clash would see them drop to 5-5 and give the Huskies, who sit fifth, an opportunity to close the gap on the Sharks, with two games in hand. Ahead of the Sharks on the ladder are the Saints, Hawks and Rams, who all have either the same amount of wins or better and have at least one game in hand. Long story short, the Shark's playoff hopes may start to be taken out of their own hands if they come up short this week.
Fast Five - Question 2
Q: How important are the Sharks' imports to their success?
A: It was a forgettable week for the Sharks in R6. They lost back-to-back games and to make matters worse, suffered a historic defeat to arch-rivals the Saints. A common denominator for the Sharks in their four losses this season has been the sub-par play of their imports, particularly in the closing moments. This isn't to say they haven't contributed in 2019, who can forget Agent 97's 44 piece against Nelson? But, part of being a big name player means getting the job done in the big moments or big games. Southland's three imports have a combined 36% from the field across all four of their losses. This type of play needs to be rectified if they want to be playing at the business end of the season.
Fast Five - Question 3
Q: How big was the Giants' loss in Hobart?
A: Losing on a last second shot is never easy, but it's an even tougher pill to swallow when Final Four hopes are riding on the result. The Giants play twice this round, with the first of their two games being the undefeated Saints in Wellington. Should the game go as the TAB tips it to, the Saints are paying $1.10 to win, and they lose the following day to the Airs, the Giants record would then read 3-7. Things can basically go one of two ways for the Nelsonians - win a game and keep their playoff aspirations alive or lose both and be all but eliminated for a chance at the title.
Fast Five – Question 4
Q: Can the Saints be beaten?
A: It will take a mighty performance to bring the Saints down. However, on any given day even the best of the best can have a bad day out. At the moment the Saints are fighting fit and crushing it, but if an injury or two strikes things can change quickly. Next up, Nelson has the tough task of heading to Wellington this Saturday night to meet the Saints. Desperately in need of a win, maybe the Giants will surprise the unbeaten Saints? Unlikely, but...
Fast Five – Question 5
Q: Do we already know who the Defensive Player of the Year is?
A: This round marks the halfway mark of the season, so it’s fair to suggest we have a fair sample size in front us with regards to looking at some of the players who will feature in this week’s key individual awards. When it comes to the Defensive Player of the Year will anyone stop Isaiah Wilkins from the Canterbury Rams? Anyone?