Nuggets aim for playoffs in Porirua

PHOTO: ODT FILES
Photo: ODT files
The Otago Nuggets now know the destination they are striving for.

Porirua will host the National Basketball League final-four weekend on July 22-23.

The final-four format is one the league has used in recent years, playing both semifinals and the final at one location rather than home-and-away games.

After last year’s complex Showdown playoff format in Auckland, it will revert to a simple top four.

NBL general manager Justin Nelson said the league was thrilled to take the games to a "vibrant and extremely passionate basketball community".

"The Te Rauparaha Arena is a beautiful facility and perfect for our fans, and also our viewers across New Zealand who will be able to enjoy all the action from all three games live on Sky Sport.

"Plus it's a neutral venue. There really won't be the same level of home-court advantage we have seen many times in the past, so it is very much game on."

He added he expected tickets to sell quickly and to sell out the 2500 capacity arena.

The Nuggets remain well in contention for the top four.

They have won six of their 11 games, leaving them in fourth.

However, there is a close chasing pack with the Canterbury Rams, Nelson Giants and Auckland Huskies trailing by just one win.

The top three teams look likely bets to make the top four.

The Southland Sharks have played more games than anyone else, but have managed nine wins from their 12.

With plenty of home matches remaining, they should secure a spot.

The Wellington Saints trail in second and have games in hand over the other teams — having won eight of their nine.

The Hawke’s Bay Hawks have won seven of their 10 and have just returned full-strength with their Australian NBL players returning.

Prior to last year, the Nuggets’ only playoff appearance since 1997 came in 2013.

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