A Rob Loe and Chris Johnson inspired Auckland Tuatara put the Mike Pero Nelson Giants to the sword and kept the Trafalgar Centre crowd quiet on Friday night of Round 2.
While Trey Mourning was the talk of Nelson town after a round one win over the Airs, dealing with the tall Tuatara timber was a different proposition. Loe and Johnson gobbled up rebounds and sunk shots, making it a difficult night for the Giants.
Ably assisted by Taki Fahrensohn and Dontae Russo-Nance, who pushed the pace for the visitors despite impressive defensive pressure from Jarrod West and Alex McNaught, Loe and Johnson had the Tuatara humming to a ten point first quarter lead.
Offensively the Giants looked out of sorts and disjointed early, almost worried to enter the painted zone with Loe and Johnson patrolling. 9 quick points from captain Sam Dempster from beyond the arc gave them some hope at the start of the second half, but they never got within arms length of a Tuatara side that still has talent to come in the form of import guard Siler Schneider and kiwi college graduate Dan Fotu.
A warning shot to the league from the Aucklanders, and plenty to work on for the Nelsonians as they head to Franklin in Round 3.
SCORE: Giants 77, Tuatara 86
Giants: Mourning 31 PTS & 4 REB | Dempster 12 PTS, 7 REB | West 14 PTS 9 AST
Tuatara: Loe 23 PTS, 12 REB | Johnson 19 PTS, 15 REB| Fahrensohn 14 PTS, 6 REB
Full box score HERE.
Stuff MVP Votes
Rob Loe (Tuatara) - 9 votes
Taki Fahrensohn (Tuatara) - 8 votes
Chris Johnson (Tuatara) - 4 votes
Trey Mourning (Giants) - 4 votes
Dontae Russo-Nance (Tuatara) - 3 votes
Jarrod West (Giants) - 2 votes
Giants - May 14 @ Franklin Bulls
Tuatara - May 8 @ Canterbury Rams
Round 2 Sal's NBL Schedule