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Poor performance or keeping their cards close to their chest?
The reaction of Southland Sharks coach Judd Flavell suggests it is the first one.
The Sharks and Nelson Giants found themselves in a unique position yesterday when they squared off in their final 2018 regular season National Basketball League fixture at ILT Stadium Southland in Invercargill.
Whatever the result, the two teams were already locked in to play each other this Saturday night in semifinal action in Wellington.
The Giants will head into the playoff game with a spring in their step, following a 103-87 win in Invercargill yesterday.
While the result meant little, Flavell was still disappointed the Sharks did not provide a better showing.
"We can’t use [the playoffs] for any type of excuse for that performance today. Right from the start we were in a hole and you can’t afford to do that at this level," Flavell said.
"We had some looks at shots the guys would normally put down, but we just weren’t on today."
Southland’s Australian import Jarrad Weeks opened the scoring with three but from that point Nelson took over to win every quarter barring the 20-20 third quarter.
The Sharks struggled to get the ball to drop from three-point territory, making just three of their 17 three-point attempts.
Reuben Te Rangi went 0-6 and Conor Morgan 0-4 in their three-point attempts.
"When we don’t have our eye in we need to find other areas in the game where we can make an impact. We weren’t able to do that defensively, either," Flavell said.
The Wellington Saints and Hawke’s Bay will square-off in the other semifinal in Wellington on Saturday.
- Logan Savory
Nelson Giants 103
Damon Heuir 30, Tohi Smith-Milner 22, Finn Delany 21, Kyle Adnam 11),
Southland Sharks 87
Orlando Coleman 25, Jarrad Weeks 17, Alex Pledger 12, Derone Raukawa 11.
1stQ: 33-24, HT: 58-44, 3rdQ: 78-64.