The Auckland Tuatara have cruised past the Night 'n Day Otago Nuggets 105-74 in Dunedin on Sunday afternoon.
The Tuatara wasted no time getting to work in this one, piling on 33 points in the first quarter to the Nuggets' 14. Siler Schneider continued his tear with 13 points in the first 10 minutes of action on 6-of-7 shooting. The Nuggets weren't showing anything defensively early in the contest and didn't have enough assertiveness on offence.
Otago possess one of the best starting lineups in the Sal's NBL this season and their firepower is undeniable but they've shown cracks when their starters don't perform. Effort was an issue for them out of the gate and it could be a case of lack of training as a team with roster turnover and players on international duties. It's an issue that many teams have dealt with in 2022, but the Nuggets' depth might cause that issue to become tougher to combat that other teams around the league.
Auckland started the second quarter with a 9-2 run to further extend their lead. The difference in effort between the two teams was evident. When the Nuggets put their head down, they were able to make inroads but they just didn't do it often enough throughout the game.
The Tuatara would outscore the Nuggets 27-15 in the second to give them a dominant 60-29 lead at the break. Auckland was getting to the rim with ease, including allowing offensive rebounds to the free throw shooters which is a major no-no at any point in a game.
The Nuggets showed more effort in the third quarter with 28 points. That damage had already been done, though, as the task was too hefty for an Otago team that needed a better start to this one. American guard Tray Boyd III did his best to make it competitive with 19 points and four steals in 29 minutes of work.
For the Tuatara, it was an impressive two-game road trip in Round 10 with two wins to show for it. It was a statement weekend for Auckland, who had dropped four straight games heading into the round, and they reminded everyone that they're legitimate contenders. Siler Schneider's productive play of late has come at the right time for the Tuatara with the departure of big man Chris Johnson a few weeks ago. He dropped 21 points, nine rebounds and seven assists with a pair of 3-pointers in his 31 minutes.
Taki Fahrensohn showed the benefits that a Tall Blacks camp can bring with his 25-point showing in the win. The confidence he displayed throughout the game and ability to make shots when called upon will be crucial for Auckland down the business end of the season.
The Nuggets shot just for the game and were hammered on the glass. It was evident when watching live, but the box score also offered some disheartening insight into Otago's effort this afternoon. They're still very much in the Top-6 hunt and shouldn't be discredited despite a couple of recent slip ups.
SCORE: Nuggets 74, Tuatara 105
Nuggets: Boyd 19 PTS, 4 STL | Timmins 12 PTS, 9 REB | Withers 10 PTS, 6 REB, 5 BLK
Tuatara: Fahrensohn 25 PTS | Schneider 21 PTS, 9 REB, 7 AST | Loe 10 PTS, 12 REB, 4 BLK | Russo-Nance 21 PTS, 10 REB, 9 AST, 3 STL
Full box score HERE.
Stuff MVP Votes
Siler Schneider (Tuatara) - 8 votes
Dontae Russo-Nance (Tuatara) - 5 votes
Rob Loe (Tuatara) - 5 votes
Taki Fahrensohn (Tuatara) - 4 votes
Tray Boyd III (Nuggets) - 4 votes
Todd Withers (Nuggets) - 2 votes
Sam Timmins (Nuggets) - 2 votes
Nuggets – July 10 @ Wellington Saints
Tuatara – July 10 vs. Canterbury Rams
Round 10 Sal's NBL Schedule