18 Aug 2015

Tall Blacks confident of Oceania series turnaround

4:02 pm on 18 August 2015

The Tall Blacks are talking up their chances of overturning a 12-point deficit in tonight's deciding Olympic qualifying match against Australia.

Tall Blacks coach Paul Henare

Tall Blacks coach Paul Henare Photo: Photosport

New Zealand lost the first leg 71-59 in Melbourne, but will get a second crack at the Boomers tonight in Wellington.

Tall Blacks coach Paul Henare said it needed to improve at both ends of the court.

"The game's not over, it wasn't about winning that game," he said.

"Win or lose, this game still means more than the first game and we have 45 minutes to rectify that."

Henare said the side allowed the Boomers too many easy outside shots, and they would have to put more pressure on the Australian shooting guards.

"We've just come out of a film session where we forced them into tough shots... the key is trusting the defence," he said.

"When you're playing such quality defence and forcing those tough shots, sometimes they go in and sometimes they don't.

"The tougher those shots are, the more the percentages drop."

In a similar situation in 2009, the Tall Blacks reversed an eight-point defeat to thrash their trans-Tasman rivals 110-78 in the second leg, also in Wellington.

Australian guard Matthew Dellevedova said he had painful memories about that game.

"It was actually my first series for the Boomers, New Zealand got hot and the crowd gave them a big boost," he said.

"We mustn't get discouraged if New Zealand goes on a bit of a run because that's what happens in basketball games."

Tonight's game starts at 7.30pm, and you can follow our live blog of the game here on radionz.co.nz

If the Tall Blacks fail to win, they will enter a 12-team tournament in July next year with the best of the rest from other regions. Three teams will go to Rio from that.

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