Nelson Giant Ali Granger took more than his share of blame for the 76-71 loss to the Super City Rangers in the National Basketball League.
The result means the semi-finals become almost impossible, with two matches against table-topping Wellington Saints still to come. Ali, who started the game, says an error on his part hurt his team.
“It was a crucial mistake by me at the end – I missed a crucial box out and that sort of thing is going to kill us and it did.”
That missed opportunity came with the Mike Pero Giants down two with under one minute to play.
“When things are going well those 50-50 plays go your way, this season has been tougher and it means things like that seem to go against us more often.”
The team now looks to keep their faint top four hopes alive with a win over the Hawke’s Bay Hawks at the Trafalgar Centre this Friday night. Ali says the effort and energy in the third quarter of the game with the Rangers, where the Giants out scored their visitors 33-18, was what the team needed for all four quarters.
“That energy was awesome for that 10 minutes, but if we managed it over 40 minutes we’d be beating everyone in the league.
“It’s a case of moulding all that together and making it work.”
Centre Morgan Grim agreed that the Giants had all the right pieces to get on a roll but they struggled to maintain intensity and energy for four quarters. Aussie import Kyle Adnam sat out the game with injury but indicated post-match he felt he was seven days away, which could give him an outside chance of playing against the Hawks. Captain Sam Dempster sat out the key minutes in the fourth quarter after picking up a knock but appeared to be fine post-match.
The game against the Hawks tips off at 7pm.