The Go Media Otago Nuggets are back in the winner's circle and have subjected a depleted Wheeler Motor Company Canterbury Rams to a second straight home loss with a 95-82 victory.
While the Sal's NBL ladder continues to swap and change, this was a win that the Nuggets savoured ahead of a further trip north to play the Taylor Hawke's Bay Hawks on Saturday night.
However for the Rams, whose missing contingent was further stretched with Sam Smith sidelined, they will need to arrest their current slide when they travel to play the Steelformers Taranaki Airs on Saturday.
Sam Timmins was the star of the night with the competition's first triple-double of the season, finishing with 18 points, 18 rebounds and 10 assists. His improvement this season has been blinding.
The Nuggets started with speed, accuracy and determination, catching the Rams by surprise and leading 27-15 after the first quarter.
Shooting at 52 per cent (to the Rams 30 per cent), the Nuggets looked in sync, evidenced by Sam Timmins and his five assists, which went along with seven rebounds.
Geremy McKay, Richie Rodger and Josh Aitcheson all landed seven points each in the opening period.
The Rams received a rev-up from coach Mick Downer and started to work themselves back into the contest early in the second quarter, their comeback efforts helped by Derek Albertsen's three triples.
Deshon Taylor also found his groove and entered the long break with a game-high 14 points as the Rams put together a 27-18 period to cut the margin to three points (42-45).
Inside the opening minute of the third period the Rams reduced the margin to a solitary behind and within 90 seconds it was all tied-up, but then Isaiah Moss, Richie Rodger, McKay and Timmins stepped back up as the Nuggets went on a 26-15 run.
Needing some Taylor magic the Rams got the best start possible in the final quarter, but every time they came at the Nuggets they were quickly left watching as Timmins monstered his way inside the paint.
Coupled with another super performance by Moss, the Nuggets were just too strong and simply had an answer for every push the Rams could muster.
While this was the perfect bounce-back win by the Nuggets, this was a loss that will shake-up the Rams as they deperately await the return of Jack Salt (inury), Joe Cook-Green (injury), Taylor Britt (ANBL) and Max Darling (ANBL).
Hopefully for the Rams (4-5) they haven't slipped too far behind ahead of the cavalry arriving.
Canterbury Rams (82) lost to Otago Nuggets (95) - BOXSCORE
Rams: Deshon Taylor (21pts, 5stl), Quintin Bailey (18pts), EJ Singler (16pts).
Nuggets: Sam Timmins (18pts, 18rbs, 10ast, 3blks), Isaiah Moss (24pts), Geremy McKay (21pts, 8rbs), Richie Rodger (12pts).
Stuff MVP Votes
Sam Timmins (Nuggets) 10
Isaiah Moss (Nuggets) 7
Geremy McKay (Nuggets) 7
EJ Singler (Rams) 3
Deshon Taylor (Rams) 2
Derek Albertsen (Rams) 1
(Photo Credit: PhotosportNZ)