R3 Talking Points – The Full Wrap

R3 features five games across the Sal's NBL. Here's what took place.


Wellington Saints 126 def Southland Sharks 101

Saints - Rob Loe 24pts, Shea Ili 23pts, Sunday Dech 22pts, Nick Kay 16pts, Reuben Te Rangi 15pts, Jordan Ngatai 14pts

Sharks - Dom Kelman-Poto 27pts, Jarrad Weeks 21pts, Tom Vodanovich 14pts

Stats That Matter - not only did the Saints land 15 triples at 42%, they also went for a perfect 19/19 from the charity stripe. 

Sal's Pizza MVP - Rob Loe (Saints) with 24pts, 7rbs, 2ast, 1stl, 4 treys

Talking Points

  1. The Saints are stacked and they play deep. Sunday Dech (22pts) delivered big numbers off the pine and emphasised just how deep this Saints team is. When the game was there to break open in the third, Sunday made it his day with a barrage of great shots.
  2. The Sharks looked good early, but when the game went to the next level they couldn't match the Saints. Not many teams will drop 101pts on the Saints this season, so it's not all doom and gloom, but letting in 126pts in a 40-minute game is a major concern that will no doubt have the coaching staff picking through the game tape carefully.
  3. Inside or outside, it didn't matter. Rob Loe turned in a blinder, he got the Saints going, and with 7 players in double digits there was plenty of teamwork all round. Loe's performance reminded everyone just how big a threat he is at the offensive end and now becomes yet another headache for opposition coaches to worry about.


Nelson Giants 99 def Manawatu Jets 94

Giants - Rhys Vague 23pts, 6rbs, 5ast & 4 treys, Jordair Jett 21pts, 6rbs & 13ast, Dan Grida 19pts.

Jets - Wally Ellenson 27pts, Kuran Iverson 20pts & 8rbs, Taane Samuels 15pts

Stats That Matter - in such a close game it was purely FG% that separated the two teams, the Giants going at 52% (40/76) and the Jets at 46% (33/71). This was a very close game right across the board.

Sal's Pizza MVP - Jordair Jett (Giants) with 21pts, 6rbs & 13ast

Talking Points

  1. The Jets have lost their last two games by 1pt and 5pts. They aren't far away, though they do have the Saints paying them a visit next week. There's a lot to like about this young team, but right now you sense they just need to break the ice to build their confidence up.
  2. Daishon Knight was a welcome addition to the Jets and back into the league, however last year's leading scorer looked rusty tonight shooting 2/16. Don't hold it against him, he'll find some form very quickly once he settles back in.
  3. Jordair Jett fouled out with less than 3 minute stop play and with the game on the line. It could have ended completely differently for the Giants, but it was Ali Granger who came back on and completed what was a very good performance. While his 13pts were very good, it was Granger's spark in defence that helped get his team back from a 12pt deficit during the third period.  


Canterbury Rams 67 lost to Wellington Saints 80

Rams - Isaiah Wilkins 18pts, Mike Karena 15pts, Cam Gliddon 12pts.

Saints - Leon Henry 20pts & 6 treys, Rob Loe 13pts, Nick Kay 12pts.

Stats That Matter - The Saints once again showed their depth with 27 bench points compared with Canterbury's 10. It continues to be a telling stat for the Saints this season as opposition teams continue to struggle to match their depth.

Sal's Pizza MVP - Leon Henry (saints) with 20pts, 5rbs, 1st, 1blk, 6 treys

Talking Points

  1. Full-court pressure is back in vogue and the Saints are dishing it out relentlessly. The Rams were pushed right out of their comfort zone during the first half as the Saints continually got up and at them. It was a decisive tactic that ensured the visitors raced to a match-winning lead by half-time.
  2. Leon Henry reminded everyone just how ruthless he can be from the arc. Landing six big daggers from long range, Henry might well already be high in conversations for Sixth Man of the Year. 
  3. The Rams will take away plenty from what was a forgettable first half and learn from it. The Saints took away Canterbury's run and it was telling. On the upside the home team straightened up in the second half and kept the big crowd at Horncastle Arena entertained with a great run  down the stretch.


Southern Huskies 84 def Supercity Rangers 68

Huskies - Jalen Billups 22pts, Craig Moller 20pts & 16rbs, Tre Nichols 19pts.

Rangers - Tim Quarterman 21pts, Venky Jois 19pts & 11rbs.

Stats That Matter - In front of their home fans the Huskies dropped 10 triples at a 37% clip, while the Rangers could only manage 3 treys at just 11%.

Sal's Pizza MVP - Craig Moller (Huskies) with 20pts, 16rbs, 2ast, 1stl, 4 treys.

Talking Points

  1. The Huskies will be a tough proposition for all teams travelling to Tasmania. The Southerners will need to make their home court a fortress if they hope to make it through to the Final 4 and they started in the right fashion with a strong win on a night when the nerves were running high.
  2. The three-headed monster that is Billups, Moller and Nichols again did the bulk of the work for the Huskies, but with Marcel Jones expected back next week at least the workload will start to be shared, especially at the offensive end of the floor.
  3. The Rangers were again competitive in parts, but they were held to a 36% shooting clip and were a woeful 11% from long range. In a season where wins will seemingly be hard to come by, the Rangers have to lift their shooting performance if they hope to upset teams.


Taranaki Mountainairs 88 lost to Hawke's Bay Hawks 97

Airs - Kevin Foster 37pts, Alonzo Burton 18pts, Houston O'Riley 15pts.

Hawks - EJ Singler 24pts, Ethan Rusbatch 22pts & 5 treys, Angus Brandt 18pts & 12rbs.

Stats That Matter - While the Hawks' 23pts to 7pts off the bench proved to be important, it was their 25 fast-break points that stood out as a key advantage over the Airs. 

Sal's Pizza MVP - Kevin Foster (Airs) with 37pts @ 58%, 1rb & 4 treys

Talking Points

  1. The inclusion of Angus Brandt finally gave the Hawks some inside size and subsequently the visitors won the rebound count 41-38. Brandt came off the bench in this one given he literally just landed, but don't be surprised if he is thrust into the starting line-up next Thursday night in Canterbury.
  2. Kevin Foster has been Taranaki's best player through three rounds and he did all he could in this game to get his team up. His 37pts weren't enough.
  3. Ethan Rusbatch is the hottest long-range shooter in the competition and once again showed his class with another five triples from eight attempts.

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