After 15 straight nights of fierce basketball, the Sal's NBL 18IN18 has reached the three biggest nights of the season with four teams set to contest the 2020 playoffs.
The finals action starts tonight with the Platinum Homes Harbour Breeze (1st) meeting the Kapura Capital Swish (4th) with the winner going on to meet the winner of tomorrow night's game between the Waikato Wizards and the Firebrand Otago Gold Rush in Sunday's Grand Final.
The Breeze have made it through with an unbeaten run of five regular season games, seemingly getting better each time they step on court. Led by the hot-shooting form of guard Brooke Blair, along with the undeniable strength of playmaker Ella Fotu and strong forward Ash Kelman-Poto, the Breeze are in strong shape and will take some beating from here.
For the Swish, who are back in the top flight for the first time in a number of years and are the only team at the 18IN18 without a current or former Tall Ferns playing on the roster, their run to the finals has been fun to watch.
Led by inspirational captain Letava Whippy, there is so much to like about this team and the versatility they bring to the court with names like Taulelei, Vaofusi, Lokotui and Selby-Rickett.
While the Breeze will start warm favourites, which is understandable given their top spot status, the playoffs bring new elements and opportunities, which the Swish will focus on.
Looking after the ball and shooting with confidence will be critical for both teams. The match-up on Blair and Kelman-Poto will be crucial for the Swish, while back the other way the Breeze will need to limit the influence of Whippy and Vaofusi in particular.
THREE KEYS TO THE GAME
WHAT: Sal's NBL 18IN18 Semi-Final 1
WHEN: Friday December 4 at 7:30pm
WHERE: Pulman Arena, south Auckland
COST: Adults $10 | U18s Free