Taranaki pin hopes on home-court advantage

TONY BIRD
Last updated 05:00 13/06/2014

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The Taranaki Mountain Airs' slim hopes of grabbing a playoff spot in the National Basketball League go on the line tonight.

Soundly beaten 97-88 by the Super City Rangers in West Auckland on Wednesday night, the Good Home Mountain Airs will be hunting for some hometown magic and a win tonight against the Otago Nuggets at New Plymouth's TSB stadium

There are just three rounds left in the 2014 NBL round-robin series, with most of the contenders having four or five games still to play - Taranaki have four including tonight's game, which is their second last at home.

One area the Airs need improving in is their shooting from the field, which let them down badly against the Rangers when shooting under 40 per cent.

The Mountain Airs, however, won't be completely disappointed with their campaign to date, given many had predicted them as wooden-spooners at the start of the season. They will want to finish their regular season strongly.

The Nuggets also have a difficult assignment in front of them and on 12 points need to, at the very least, win three of their last five games as well as have other results go their way in their quest to make the playoffs in Wellington on July 4 and 5.

In the previous meeting between the two sides in New Plymouth, the game went into quadruple overtime, the Nuggets prevailing 145-137. Mark Dickel tallied 27 points, 12 assists and seven rebounds in 58 minutes of court time. Dickel, 37, is averaging 39 minutes a game and is currently leading the league in assists (8.5 APG).

The Airs have won 13 of the past 17 meetings, but recently the Nuggets have won four of seven.

AT A GLANCE

Taranaki Mountain Airs vs Otago Nuggets
New Plymouth's TSB Stadium
Tip-off 6.30pm

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