2015 Bartercard NBL Semi-Finals Preview

2015 Bartercard NBL Semi-Finals Preview

Zerofees Southland Sharks (15-3) v James Blond Supercity Rangers (11-7)

When: 3.30pm

Where: TSB Bank Arena, Wellington

Referees: Melony Wealleans, Miguel Gallardo, Ryan Jones

Live Stats Link





Todd Blanchfield (21.8)

Jason Cadee (22.6)


Tai Wesley (9.4)

Casey Frank (8.3)


Kevin Braswell (6.3)

Dillon Boucher (4.4)


Kevin Braswell (1.6)

Three tied (1.2)


Tai Wesley (1.8)

Two Tied (0.7)


The Southland Sharks have won 14 in a row, but will be facing an experienced Rangers side who have proven winners in Dillon Boucher, Casey Frank, Hayden Allen and Reuben Te Rangi.

Under head coach Paul Henare, the Sharks have been the most clinical side in the competition and have beaten the Rangers both times this season.

The one advantage the Rangers has over the Sharks is the depth of their bench with the likes of Boucher, Josh Bloxham, Tai Wynyard and Puke Lenden. 

Sharks forward Tai Wesley has had a MVP season averaging 18.1 points, 9.4 rebounds, and shooting 65.9% from the field. Wesley will face Australian Tom Garlepp who like playing in Wellington, averaging 36 points in 2 games.

The Rangers are only team in the competition to have three players average 20 plus points (Jason Cadee 22.6, Garlepp 20.7 and Te Rangi 20.5).

36 year old Kevin Braswell led the Sharks to their first ever title in 2013. Braswell will face Cadee in  battle of the point guards which will play a pivotal role in the result. 

Cadee is coming off a 40 point haul over Taranaki, and in his last two games is averaging 37.5 points in his last two games.

This will be the Rangers first taste of the playoffs and have come a long way since returning to the league in 2013 where they finished with a 2-14 record. 

Rangers Head Coach Jeff Green has won four title, two with the Hutt Valley Lakers and two with the Waikato Titans. Green is one behind Tab Baldwin who won five with the Auckland Stars.

Mike Pero Nelson Giants (13-5) v Wellington Saints (12-6)

When:                       5.30pm

Where:                      TSB Bank Arena, Wellington

Referees:                   Dallas Pickering, Gavin Zimmerman, Yalla Edwards

Live Stats Link





McKenzie Moore (22.4)

Torrey Craig (22.6)


Mika Vukona (8.2)

Torrey Craig (9.9)


McKenzie Moore (4.3)

Lindsay Tait (8.9)


McKenzie Moore (2.0)

Lindsay Tait (1.7)


McKenzie Moore (1.8)

Torrey Craig (1.3)


The fierce rivalry between the Saints and Giants continues, playing against each other in the semi-final for the fifth time since 2008.

Wellington one last year’s semi-final against the Giants 89-71, and have had the upper hand winning four compared Giants one which was in 2009.

Nelson are going into the semi ahead of Wellington in the standings, but the Saints did win both regular season meetings.

If there was an opportunity for Nelson to win their first semi in Wellington it would be now as the Saints have lost two straight and it will be doubtful that their leading scorer and rebounder Torrey Craig will play or give them big minutes.

Match up of the game will be between point guard McKenzie Moore and Lindsay Tait. Moore has been a top candidate for Most Valuable Player, leading his team in four of the five major statistical categories. Tait won the assists title for the third time in his career and is a proven playoff performer as evidenced by his finals MVP award in last season’s championship.

Last season was going to be the swansong for the all-time NBL games leader, Phill Jones, but the 41 year old has returned for another season in the hopes of redemption.

Nelson are a much more balanced roster this season with the additions of centre Josh Duinker and import DeRonn Scott. Not to mention they have a proven winner in forward Mika Vukona, who has four ANBL titles playing with the NZ Breakers.

Wellington coach Pero Cameron will coach in his fifth semi-final for the franchise and winning titles in 2010 and 2011. The Saints have been to eight straight semi-finals, tying the record with the Auckland Stars and the Giants.

Nelson rookie coach Tim Fanning has done an incredible job for his side this year and will try to give the Giants their fourth title and take them to their 12th final.