THE Auckland Tuatara claimed one of the most dominant wins we have seen in season 2022 of the New Zealand National Basketball League (NZNBL), downing the Otago Nuggets to the tune of 31 points at Edgar Centre on Sunday afternoon.
It was shaping up to be one of the matchups of the round, given both sides headed into the game inside the top four, but it ended up being a bit of a fizzer. The Turatara were simply too strong on both ends of the court, hitting triple figures with their score while preventing the opposition from getting any offensive momentum going. The damage was done early as Auckland stormed out to an early lead, and never looked back from there.
The win sees the Turatara maintain top spot, with their eighth win of the season keeping them at the head of the table with just over a month to play. On the other hand, the Nuggets missed out on the opportunity to potentially jump up to third spot, and instead are now sitting with a record of six wins and five losses, and are only above sixth place based on percentage.
For the Turatara, their biggest strength came in the form of a strong number of contributors, with three players scoring 20 or more points. Taikula Fahrenson (25 points), Siler Schnieder (21 points, nine rebounds) and Dontae Russo-Nance (21 points, 10 rebounds) were simply too good with ball in hand, and the Nuggets’ defence could not match the power of the trio.
Billy Boyd III fought hard to try and conjure some offence for the Nuggets, finishing with a team-high 19 points (7/14 FG). However, he did not get enough support on this front, as Otago only managed 74 points.
The Turatara established their intent early in the contest, delivering some free-flowing action with ball in hand, and grabbing control of the contest in the first quarter. 33 points in the first 10 minutes alone showed that Auckland was determined to post a winning score, and it was reflective of how the rest of the game would pan out.
Whenever the Nuggets would try and produce a run to chip away at the lead, it was almost immediately answered by their opponents, who could do no wrong on the offensive end at stages of the contest. The game was decided well before the final buzzer sounded, as the visitors sent a message to the rest of the league regarding their title hopes for 2022.
The Turatara will look to keep their winning streak rolling when they take on the Canterbury Rams at Eventfinda Stadium on Saturday evening, while the Nuggets will attempt to bounce back when they face off against Wellington Saints at TSB Arena on Saturday afternoon.