British_Basketball_League_(emblem)Sheffield Sharks v Glasgow Rocks

Where and when:
EIS Sheffield, 7.30pm Friday 27 November
Summary:
Sheffield Sharks will be seeking to gain the upper hand in what could prove to be a decisive head-to-head series when they host Glasgow Rocks on Friday.
Just two wins separated these teams at the end of last season and having won their first meeting of this campaign last month, Atiba Lyons’ side could secure the tie-breaker with success on Friday.
They come into the game full of confidence too, having avenged their BBL Cup Quarter-Final defeat against Leicester Riders, ending the Midlands’ club unbeaten start to the season.
Rocks were without a game last weekend, meaning they could not build on their 87-80 success against London Lions.
Last time they met:
Glasgow Rocks 62 Sheffield Sharks 90 (BBL Championship, Emirates Arena, 25 October 2015)
Form:
Rocks: LLWLLW
Sharks: WLWLLW
Three Points:
  • Sharks guards Jerrold Brooks and Mike Cook were both named in the latest BBL All-Star Five
  • Five players scored in double figures during Rocks’ win against Lions
  • Sharks have won five of their last six games against Rocks
What they say:
Sharks guard Mike Cook: “It was a good win for us, we just needed a win.
“I just know that [Glasgow] are a better team than what we saw in our first meeting so we can’t think that we’re just going to win.
“My fitness is okay, I have a little injury that’s getting better so I’ll be fine.”
Rocks forward Will Hall: “Our consistency has been a real problem throughout the start of the season. It comes down to the players’ mind-set when we enter a game and unfortunately it hasn’t always been in the right place so far. Obviously, there’s only one way to change that.
“Sheffield did a great job on the boards against us and we struggled to limit their inside scoring. We’ve got to focus on rebounding the basketball and need to dictate their offence a little more at the defensive end.”
Worcester Wolves v Leeds Force
Where and when:
University of Worcester Arena, 7.30pm Friday 27 November
Summary:
Leeds Force may feel Friday’s trip to Worcester Wolves represents their best chance yet to secure a BBL victory against this formidable foe.
Force have been well beaten in each meeting with Wolves since joining the top-flight last season.
And despite tasting defeat last time out, against Cheshire Phoenix, Matt Newby’s men will still be high on confidence having won three BBL games in a row for the first time, prior to that reverse.
Wolves on the other hand enter the weekend following a surprise defeat against Plymouth Raiders, their fourth loss in five, after a 7-1 start.
Last time they met:
Worcester Wolves 92 Leeds Force 65 (BBL Championship, University of Worcester Arena, 23 October 2015)
Form:
Wolves: WLLWLL
Force: LLWWWL
Three Points:
  • Wolves have won all four BBL meetings between these teas, by an average of 24 points
  • No BBL team that has played more than seven games averages more than Wolves’ 13.73 free throws-per-game
  • Force’s Kwan Waller leads the league in steals, with 2.1-per-game
What they say:

Wolves forward Ben Eaves: “We have not started games well as of late with the exception of Newcastle game when there was a sense of urgency. Defensively we have been giving up too many points, especially in transition, so I think we need to focus on starting well and building a good flow to the game and begin as we mean to go on, instead of having to recover later in the game.

“Leeds play hard and never quit and they have had success as of late so we need to be focused and not let them find their rhythm.”
Force guard Dwayne Camille: “We started the game against Cheshire Phoenix quite slowly, which seems like a repeated factor in our losses thus far in the season. Finding a way to start our games more aggressively will help us gain strong momentum into the start of games, which can be kept consistent throughout the game.
“We started the last game against Worcester Wolves quite slowly and as a team were not as well connected as we are today, and I believe when we come out aggressive, composed and confident we put ourselves in great positions to get the ‘W’ against teams.”
Esh Group Eagles Newcastle v Manchester Giants
Where and when:
Sport Central, 7.30pm Friday 27 November
Summary:
There were 38 points between Esh Group Eagles Newcastle and Manchester Giants when they met less than two weeks ago, leaving Yorick Williams’ men with plenty of room for improvement ahead of Friday’s rematch.
Eagles’ incredible start to the season shows no signs of slowing down, as they extended their perfect league record to 11 games with victory against Worcester Wolves last time out.
Giants, however, are enduring a torrid run of just one win in 11 games, having fallen to Cheshire Phoenix last Sunday.
Last time they met:
Manchester Giants 81 Esh Group Eagles Newcastle 119 (BBL Championship, Trafford Soccerdome, 15 November 2015)
Form:
Eagles: WWWWWW
Giants: LWLLLL
Three Points:
  • Eagles are scoring 10 points-per-game more than any other team
  • Giants have not beaten Eagles since returning to the BBL in 2012
  • Eagles have scored more than 100 points in each of their last four games against Giants
What they say:
Eagles forward Andrew Thomson: “Giants play at a high tempo and like to play physical. They’re one of the smaller teams in the league when it comes to size, but they use that to their benefit as they can spread the floor and use the space with driving lanes for there guards.
“It’s a tough cover as you don’t want to get into a scoring race with this team, so it will be key for use to dictate the tempo from the start.”
Giants guard/forward Ingus Bankevics: “Newcastle are a really good team, all their players know what they need to do. They know how to play offence and defence and it’s hard to play against them, they punish all your mistakes.
“We cannot let them get easy shots, and second-chance points, and we have to keep our turnovers down. We need to play defence at 101%, but we know it will be tough.”
Leicester Riders v Cheshire Phoenix
Where and when:
Loughborough, 7.30pm Saturday 28 November
Summary:
Leicester Riders welcome the in-form Cheshire Phoenix on Saturday, as they seek to kick-start their BBL Championship title challenge.
Riders suffered a first defeat of the season in their previous league game, going down to Sheffield Sharks at home, but still sit in second position with a 7-1 record.
Rob Paternostro’s men travel to London Lions in the BBL Cup Semi-Final first leg on Thursday, ahead of this contest, against a Phoenix side hitting their stride.
After five straight losses, John Lavery’s men have won four in a row entering the weekend, and will be keen to strengthen their place in the top four.
Last time they met:
Leicester Riders 100 Cheshire Phoenix 82 (BBL Championship, Loughborough, 04 April 2015)
Form:
Riders: WWWWWL
Phoenix: LLWWWW
Three Points:
  • Riders continue to concede the fewest points-per-game at 64.25
  • Phoenix boast the individual league leaders in scoring (Jordan Williams 21.6 points-per-game) and rebounding (Kinu Rochford 11.6 per-game)
  • Riders have won all but one of the last 16 meetings between these teams
What they say:
Riders forward Jamell Anderson: “Cheshire have proven to be a talented team, they have some guys who really know how to put the ball in the hoop. When Rob [Paternostro, coach] prepares us for Cheshire I’m positive we will have a good understanding of what we need to do us a team to get that win.”
Phoenix forward Jeff Dirkin: “Leicester are a tough team in our league. I expect them to be well drilled, but it comes down to us executing what we want to do. We need to run and push the pace when it suits us and continue to improve on the defensive end. It comes down to our ability to execute.”
Bristol Flyers v Worcester Wolves
Where and when:
WISE Basketball Arena, 7.30pm Saturday 28 November
Summary:
Two teams looking to get back on track meet on Saturday as Bristol Flyers and Worcester Wolves both look for an answer to back-to-back defeats.
A short-handed Flyers fell to London Lions in their previous game, a third defeat in the last four games.
Wolves host Leeds Force on Friday, 24 hours before facing Flyers, but go into the weekend following reverses against Esh Group Eagles Newcastle and Plymouth Raiders, which have put a dampener on what was a strong start to the campaign.
Last time they met:
Worcester Wolves 78 Bristol Flyers 76 (BBL Championship, University of Worcester Arena, 25 September 2015)
Form:
Flyers: WWLWLL
Wolves: WLLWLL
Three Points:
  • Pavol Losonsky scored 29 points for Wolves when these teams met in September
  • Flyers guard Cardell McFarland missed the game against Lions as an injury precaution
  • Flyers forward Tyrone Lee also suffered a sprained ankle in that game
What they say:
Flyers coach Andreas Kapoulas: “Worcester are one of the top teams in this league. They have a very good coach in Paul James and they are very well-organised.
“Playing here at home, we really want to win. We feel we haven’t played well at home and we really look at this game as a game we need to win.
“Right now, the aim for us is to get healthy. We respect Worcester but at the same time we feel if we are healthy we can compete with them, and we want to get a big home win.”
Wolves forward Ben Eaves: “Flyers never say die so we know they are going to give us their best shot but these next few will be about us and what we can control, I think, and playing a full 40 minutes of smart, team basketball will be crucial.”
Surrey Scorchers v London Lions
Where and when:
Surrey Sports Park, 7.00pm Saturday 28 November
Summary:
A developing local rivalry will step up a notch on Saturday when London Lions travel to Surrey Scorchers for the second time this season.
The capital club prevailed on their previous visit last month, coming through an overtime thriller to advance in the BBL Cup.
Lions tip-off the latest round with a Thursday night clash against Leicester Riders in the first leg of their BBL Cup Semi-Final before this game.
Scorchers, meanwhile, have not been in action since slipping to a fourth loss in five, at the hands of Leeds Force on 13 November, so will be keen to show the work they have been putting in on the practice floor, with a more rounded roster in place.
Last time they met:
Surrey Scorchers 81 London Lions 89 (BBL Cup First Round, Surrey Sports Park, 17 October 2015)
Form:
Scorchers: WLLWLL
Lions: WLWWLW
Three Points:
  • Lions are getting more points-per-game from their bench than any other BBL club, 30.11
  • Scorchers are leading the league in free throw attempts, with 14.43 per-game
  • Lions star Demond Watt made his return from injury last weekend with a 12-point, 11-rebound double-double after six weeks out
What they say:
Scorchers guard Tayo Ogedengbe: “So far this season we’ve had a few set-backs in terms of players coming in and out, a few teething problems.
“I feel like by the time the Christmas break comes around we’ll have a fully settled team. Those are the things are the things that can happen to teams that have been around for 10 years.”
Lions coach Nigel Lloyd: “They always play us tough and I think it’s because it’s kind of a local rivalry and they’ve got some London-born players in Tayo Ogedengbe and Elvisi Dusha.
“I think they are going to be playing better than they have been playing recently so we’ve got to ready for them.”
Glasgow Rocks v Esh Group Eagles Newcastle
Where and when:
Emirates Arena, 5.00pm Sunday 29 November
Summary:
Glasgow Rocks have come as close to any team to ending Esh Group Eagles Newcastle’s historic start to the season, and will get another shot on Sunday.
Eagles outlasted the Scottish club 83-78 in their BBL Cup Quarter-Final last month, and have continued their winning run since then, making it to an 11-0 mark in the BBL Championship.
Rocks meanwhile have split their four games since then, going without a game last weekend before facing Sheffield Sharks on Friday.
Eagles are also in action against Manchester Giants on Friday before this game.
Last time they met:
Esh Group Eagles Newcastle 83 Glasgow Rocks 78 (BBL Cup Quarter-Final, Sport Central, 30 October 2015)
Form:
Rocks: LLWLLW
Eagles: WWWWWW
Three Points:
  • Eagles have won all of their 12 games so far this season, doing so by an average of 18 points
  • Rocks’ last victory against Eagles was in April 2012
  • Joe Chapman had 23 points and 10 rebounds when these sides met last month
What they say:
Rocks forward Will Hall: “The Cup game [against Newcastle] was a tough game to lose, as it came down to the last minute. We need to take care of the basketball on Sunday. We had too many turnovers in Newcastle and lacked a little composure in the final quarter. Other than that, we just need to play our style of game with confidence.
“I don’t really consider breaking their winning streak any more of a motivating factor than wanting to win any other game. When all said and done, it’s just another basketball game.”
Eagles forward Andrew Thomson: “Glasgow are a balanced team and the more they play together, the stronger they get. We have to be able to defend their movement and pick-and-roll better, I think that will be a key focus of ours.
“It’s never an easy place to play when going to the Emirates so we’re expecting a battle on Sunday. I’m sure they’ve been waiting for this game since the Cup Quarter-Final.”
Cheshire Phoenix v Plymouth University Raiders
Where and when:
Cheshire Oaks Arena, 5.30pm Sunday 29 November
Summary:
Plymouth Raiders’ renewed confidence will be put to a stern test on the road against Cheshire Phoenix on Sunday.
After waiting eight games for their first win, Daryl Corletto’s men have won two of their last three, the most recent an away upset of Worcester Wolves.
But on Sunday they face a Phoenix side who enter the weekend on a four-game winning run having overcome Leeds Force and Manchester Giants last weekend before travelling to Leicester Riders on Saturday.
Last time they met:
Cheshire Phoenix 102 Plymouth Raiders 84 (BBL Championship, Northgate Arena, 08 March 2015)
Form:
Phoenix: LLWWWW
Raiders: LLLWLW
Three Points:
  • Phoenix have won six of the last seven meetings between these clubs
  • Raiders guard Josh Wilcher leads the league in assists with 7.3 per-game
  • Jordan Williams and Kinu Rochford combined for 62 points in Phoenix’s win against Giants
What they say:
Phoenix forward Jeff Dirkin: “I think our run has come from our court chemistry improving. We have had more time to gel as a team, which is starting to pay dividends, especially on the defensive end.
“Plymouth will have more confidence after their win. It still comes down to us. If we execute, we can beat anyone in this league.”
Raiders forward Mike Vigor: “The main changes that Daryl [Corletto, coach] has imposed on the club would be a renewed sense of culture. He is working towards turning the Plymouth Raiders around through instilling little habits that make losing teams into winning teams.
“He has obviously played under a lot of successful coaches, therefore I think he is trying to replicate that winning culture with Plymouth Raiders regardless of how long it takes.
“The main area we need to improve on is consistency and stability, we need to make sure we are consistently doing the right things and consistently working on our individual game and our team game plan. We can’t have four or five guys on the same page, we need all 10 guys to buy into the system and consistently perform. Once that happens I think we will be a force in this league.”

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