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Tall Blacks see off Japan in China

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 15/06/2016

A sluggish New Zealand have made it two wins from two at a men's basketball tournament in China, beating Japan 73-68.

The Tall Blacks were less impressive than in their 80-65 win over Belarus but did enough to to see off world No.48 Japan, ranked 27 places below them.

They can expect a stern challenge against 14th-ranked China in their final game on Thursday.

Assistant coach Pero Cameron believes two recent practice games against the Japanese in New Zealand may have worked against his side.

"That familiarity can make it tough," he said.

"But importantly we found a way to win, with some big plays down the stretch and I thought we always had it under control."

Guard Corey Webster led all scorers with 19 points while forward Isaac Fotu accrued 15 points and 12 rebounds.

New Zealand are prepared to experiment as they build towards the Rio Olympic qualifying tournament in July.

At one stage they fielded three guards against Japan, with Shea Ili playing alongside brothers Corey and Tai Webster.

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