In yet another Sal's NBL contest featuring up-tempo transition and high scoring, the Steelformers Taranaki Airs have piled on the most points in any game this season, or last season, to bring the high flying Property Brokers Manawatu Jets crashing back to earth with a thud.
The final 131-100 win by the Airs was the highest collective score this season, while the 131-point total by the home team was bigger than the 125 points the Wellington Saints put on the Franklin Bulls last year.
Going in the Jets were boasting four wins in five games, but they soon found themselves back to square one with a strong dose of reality as the Airs put on a scoring barrage, which included six players in double-digit scoring and some slick transition that came with a ridiculous 38 assists.
A 32-27 opening quarter was a sign of the scoring to come, filled with big shots at both ends as the Airs edged clear off the back of six triples (at 54%) and a quickfire 10 points from the hand of Javonte Douglas, while both Robert Crawford and Zane Najdawi dropped 11 points each to keep the Jets in flight.
The threes continued to rain down in the second period for the Airs, who closed out the half with 13-of-22 from long range and a handy 61-49 advantage overall.
Anthony Hilliard had 17 points at the mid point and Douglas moved to 20 points for the leaders, while for the Jets a 12-of-14 conversion from the Resene foul-line helped the visitors to stay in touch.
With the motor running hot, the Airs went to a higher gear in the third quarter delivering a stacked highlight reel with multiple stops and some thunderous dunks, thrilling another packed Taranaki crowd as the Jets struggled to stay in touch.
Between Douglas, Hilliard, Shaun Willett, Carlin Davison and Marcel Jones, the home team just had too much firepower as they completed a 34-21 period to bust the contest open. The Airs' 95 points was the highest of the season across the league in three quarters of play.
The scoring onslaught continued during a last quarter that delivered another 66 points (36-30) as the big shots and dunks kept coming in waves. The victorious Airs ended with 19 triples in a clinical display.
Douglas ended with a triple-double in a sublime performance that will take some beating this season, just the second triple-double of the season across the league, while Hillard and Willet both came up big with 26 points each.
The 38 assists amassed by the Airs was also a season high across the league, and perhaps a record for the New Plymouth outfit.
The win pushes the Airs to within striking distance of the top six ahead of a massive road-trip to play the Giants and Saints in Round 10.
SCORE: Airs 131 , Jets 100
Airs: Douglas 34 PTS, 11 REB, 11 AST | Hilliard 26 PTS, 11 AST | Willett 26 PTS
Jets: Crawford 24 PTS | Najdawi 22 PTS | Bohannan 16 PTS, 10 REB
Full box score HERE.
Stuff MVP Votes
Javonte Douglas (Airs) - 10 votes
Anthony Hilliard (Airs) - 8 votes
Shaun Willett (Airs) - 6 votes
Zane Najdawi (Jets) - 4 votes
Rob Crawford (Jets) - 2 votes
Airs – July 2 @ Nelson Giants / July 3 @ Wellington Saints
Jets – June 28 vs Hawke's Bay Hawks
Round 9 Sal's NBL Schedule