Hawkes’ Bay provides shooting masterclass

They have to miss eventually, right?

Everything reverts to the mean sooner or later, right?

It is just a matter of time, right?

Wrong, wrong and wrong.

The Hawke’s Bay Hawks just kept flicking in three-pointers as easy as that.

Rhys Vague (25 points) barely missed and Ethan Rusbatch (36 points) had knocked down eight of them by halftime.

The pair guided their side to a comprehensive 103-73 against the Otago Nuggets in Napier on Saturday night.

They dealt with the threat centre Sam Timmins posed under the rim by just chucking it in from out wide.

Nuggets coach Brent Matehaere said you had to applaud good basketball and he saw plenty of it from the Hawks.

"Missing just didn’t seem to be on their agenda tonight," he said.

The Hawks landed 19 of their 37 attempts from three-point range — that is 57 points right there.

The Nuggets moved in and out of zone defence as they battled to keep the ball falling in from deep.

Early on, the visitors got some traction inside but Hawks poured in 32 points in the second quarter to open up a 16-point lead.

It prove unassailable.

"We just went away from the things we do well," Matehaere said.

The game started well for the Nuggets. Timmins (15 points) made an early block to remind everyone who the dominant big man in the league is. He had a triple double in his last outing against the Canterbury Rams.

His block sparked the Nuggets to a 6-0 run early.

But Rusbatch had his radar locked in and drilled his fourth three-pointer of the period to give his side a 24-19 lead at the break.

Isaiah Moss (16 points) had a quiet opening quarter but got an early open look from beyond the arc and converted.

The Hawks kept sticking them in from outside, though. It was proving a very effective way of avoiding the paint where Timmins reins supreme.

Rusbatch hit his eighth three-pointer to help his side reach 50 with more than two minutes remaining in the half.

And Vague was four from four from range.

It was ridiculously good shooting. And it was kind of remarkable the Nuggets were still in touch.

But a sloppy effort at the offensive end saw a 10-point deficit blow out to 16.

Rusbatch had 26 points at the break. The Nuggets needed to stick someone in his pocket and move away from the zone, which definitely was not working.

They made the adjustment and went to a man-on-man defence.

But the Hawks shifted their game as well and drove to the hoop more.

The Nuggets slipped off Vague for a split second and he flicked in another three. He only missed once in the entire game.

Then Rusbatch punched into the paint and muscled in a floater.

The defence was better but the Hawks have so much firepower and kept finding ways to score.

They scored the last eight points in the quarter to take a 77-55 lead into the final 10 minutes.

Interest shifted away from the result and towards how many the Hawks could amass before the final hooter.

It was plenty. The Nuggets were totally outclassed.

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