The Mike Pero Nelson Giants have defeated the Night n' Day Otago Nuggets 88-69 on opening night of the 2022 Sal's NBL season.
American import Trey Mourning proved too tough to handle, as he erupted for 35 points and 14 rebounds on debut. Mourning cruised to 25 points and nailed four 3-pointers in the first half alone, and it was his efforts that helped keep the Nuggets at bay in Nelson. Fellow Giants import Jarrod West shook off a slow start to finish with 12 points and a whopping seven steals.
For the Nuggets, Sam Timmins recorded a double-double after a strong second half. He finished with 18 points, 17 rebounds and three blocks, but Timmins wasn't afraid to admit he was feeling exhausted following his first hit out of the season. New Nuggets guard Nikau McCullough put forth a strong showing with a team-high 21 points. He's going to see an expanded role this season, and should fit nicely with the three imports that are expected to arrive in the coming weeks.
The Giants led from start to finish in what was a dominant performance out the gate. Their defence was impeccable, amassing 18 steals for the game in which could be one of the higher totals we see this season. Plenty to be proud of for head coach Mike Fitchett and the Giants after this outing.
The Nuggets can take some positives from the game despite the lopsided result. They fought hard and managed to cut the deficit to single digits in the fourth quarter before the Giants' imports shut the door. They'll be looking forward to the arrival of their imports.
SCORE: Giants 88, Nuggets 69
Giants: Mourning 35 PTS & 14 REB | West 12 PTS & 7 STL | Trathen 13 PTS
Nuggets: Timmins 18 PTS & 17 REB | McCullough 21 PTS
Full box score HERE.
Stuff MVP Votes
Trey Mourning (Giants) - 10 votes
Sam Timmins (Nuggets) - 7 votes
Nikau McCullough (Nuggets) - 4 votes
Jarrod West (Giants) - 4 votes
Sam Dempster (Giants) - 3 votes
Nic Trathen (Giants) - 2 votes
Giants - May 6 vs. Auckland Tuatara
Nuggets - April 30 @ Canterbury Rams
Round 1 Sal's NBL Schedule