You are not permitted to download, save or email this image. Visit image gallery to purchase the image.
The Otago Nuggets have shown improvement this season but they might struggle to break their 29-game losing streak against the unbeaten Hawkes Bay Hawks in their National Basketball League clash in Dunedin tonight. We examine the key match-ups.
• POINT GUARD
Scott O'Gallagher (Nuggets) v Jarrod Kenny (Hawks)
O'Gallagher is a gutsy little bloke who is at home cutting to the hoop and converting from the free-throw line. He is like a second small forward in many respects and the leading scorer for the Nuggets with 20.5 points a game. Kenny, a former Tall Black, is less dynamic but is a tidy floor general and controls the tempo well.
• SHOOTING GUARD
Riki Buckrell (Nuggets) v Paora Winitana (Hawks
Buckrell has not seen much court time this season but will start ahead of Nuggets captain Sam To'omata. To'omata missed a few practice sessions this week and has been relegated to the bench. The Nuggets' outside shooting has been a real weakness. The Hawks, however, have one of the best shooters in the business. If Winitana gets hot from the outside, it is curtains for the Nuggets.
• SMALL FORWARD
Mark Morrison (Nuggets) v Josh Pace (Hawks)
Pace is a proven scorer and has the ability to take over a game. He scored 30 points against the Jets in round one and the Nuggets will need a mighty defensive effort to contain the classy player. Morrison is athletic and honest but is still getting established since moving south from Christchurch.
• POWER FORWARD
Craig Bradshaw (Nuggets) v Galen Young (Hawks)
The pair have somewhat contrasting styles. Young, a 35-year-old American, is one of the strongest players in the league and does a good job keeping his opponents out of the paint. But Bradshaw is more athletic and will look to get his outside game going, as well as mix it up on the inside.
Lance Allred (Nuggets) v Arthur Trousdell (Hawks)
Trousdell might be giving up an inch or three to Allred but he has been really productive for the Hawks, averaging 14.8 points and 8.5 rebounds. Allred, though, is the competition's leading rebounder, averaging 13 boards. His mid-range jumper and ability to score on the inside are handy weapons the Nuggets will look to exploit.
The Hawks have more experience on the bench with Ben Hill, Chris Daniel and Aidan Daly all capable of having an impact on the game. The Nuggets will look to To'omata and James Ross to add some spark and Tom Rowe can play some useful minutes.
The Nuggets have not registered a win against the Hawks since 2003 and have lost 17 of the last 18 encounters.
Nuggets v Hawks
- Edgar Centre, tonight 7pm
• Nuggets: Sam To'omata, Lance Allred, Craig Bradshaw, Mark Morrison, Scott O'Gallagher, Riki Buckrell, James Ross, Tom Rowe, Sam King, Matt Trueman, Hayden Miller, Damon Cleverley.
• Hawks: Jarrod Kenny, Paora Winitana, Josh Pace, Galen Young, Arthur Trousdell, Ben Hill, Chris Daniel, Aidan Daly, Morgan Natanahira, Ben Valentine.