Basketball: Nuggets at long odds after win and loss in north

Mark Dickel
Mark Dickel
The Otago Nuggets broke a four-game losing streak on Saturday with a 96-93 win against the Waitakere Rangers in Auckland.

But the trip south to Hamilton yesterday prove less fruitful.

The Nuggets had an opportunity to force overtime. With 16sec remaining they trailed the Waikato Pistons 81-78. But a bad pass from Olly Smith was picked off by Casey Frank and the big centre dunked the ball to put an exclamation mark on his side's 83-78 win.

The loss leaves the Nuggets with five wins from 11 games and at long odds to make the playoffs.

Nuggets centre Warren Carter scored a game-high 31 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Brendon Polyblank added 19 points and player-coach Mark Dickel chipped in with 13 points and seven assists.

Brandon Bowdry struggled to find his range, shooting four from 13 from the floor. The bench contributed just three points from a combined 30-plus minutes.

Corin Henry led the Pistons with 20 points and six assists and former Nugget Akeem Wright scored 19 points and pulled down eight rebounds.

Dyson King-Hawea (14 points) came off the bench and hit a couple of important three-pointers. On Saturday, Dickel led the Nuggets in the win against the Rangers with 26 points.

The 37-year-old point guard has taken more of a role on offence during the last two or three weeks and it is paying off.

He drained four of his eight three-point attempts to help his side keep pace with the high-scoring Rangers. Uncharacteristically, though, he struggled at the free throw line, with four from nine.

Bowdry could not find his range in the opening period but soon warmed up, scoring 23 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.

Polyblank has been the most consistent of the Nuggets this season and added 23 points as well. Carter fouled out with 90sec remaining but chipped in with 17 points and 12 rebounds.

Rangers guard Jason Cadee missed a three point attempt which would have forced overtime. But the Australian was the mostly deadly, with a game-high 34 points.

Shooting guard Darryl Corletto nailed seven of his 12 three point attempts in a haul of 25 points.

In the other game this weekend, the Hawkes Bay Hawks beat the Nelson Giants 86-79 in Napier. Steven Adams' rookie season ended in dramatic fashion yesterday as San Antonio edged Oklahoma City in overtime to conclude the New Zealander's involvement in the NBA playoffs, APNZ reports.

The Spurs recovered from blowing a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter to claim game six of the Western Conference finals 112-107 and advance to the NBA finals for the second straight year.

Adams will be left to reflect on a stunning debut campaign in NBA.

He will certainly look back fondly on his involvement in the Thunder's playoff run but, after such an agonising exit, the 20-year-old will be feeling far from euphoric for the next few days.

Adams did not feature in the fourth quarter yesterday and he was also inactive during overtime, being left on the bench after some uneven play in the first three quarters.

The centre finished with two rebounds in 12 minutes of court time, missing his only shot in the first and turning over the ball in the third.


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