Giants welcome closest rivals to Nelson

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Nelson Giants coach Tim Fanning says the NBL’s playoff picture will be a lot clear after his team’s two games this week.

The table topping Mike Pero Nelson Giants welcome the third placed Southland Sharks on Thursday night at the Trafalgar Centre, before an Anzac Day showdown with the Canterbury Rams who sit in second.

The Giants are coming off a 111-100 defeat at home to the Super City Rangers.

“This weekend will make the playoff picture a lot clearer for everyone,” Tim says.

“It’s a big weekend.”

Giants captain Sam Dempster is still in doubt for both games after he was ruled out of the Rangers game due to injury.

Fanning says his rebounding and physical presence was missed but he is confident he has the players to pick up the slack.

“We have to get tougher on defence and get our share of rebounds,” Tim says.

“Sam was a loss for us in that area but I know we have the players to cover when they are mentally in the zone.”

Fanning says his team was eager to atone for their performance.

“We scored enough points in that loss to be able to win games but our transition defence has to get better.”

The Giants ended Southland’s 15-game unbeaten run by beating them in Invercargill in week one, something Tim says gives them plenty of confidence.

The Sharks are coming off a big 23-point win over the Rams on the weekend and are likely to have the services of new American import Demetrius Miller, a the combo guard who recently played in Romania.

Tim says he has only watched a little bit of video on him but he expects him to be a player to watch.

“We’ve had a great first half of the season but we know we have to keep it going because the league this year is so even.”