We get the lowdown on the big game from the Copper Box Arena and the second of a BBC double-bill this week.
Friday 27 January
London Lions v Bristol Flyers (BBL Championship) 7.35pm
London Lions and Bristol Flyers will both be out to get back on track when they meet in front of the BBC Sport cameras on Friday. Flyers’ sensational six-game winning run ended with an overtime defeat against Plymouth Raiders last time out, despite a strong all-round display.
Lions were also on the losing side in their previous outing, coming up short against the firing Worcester Wolves, less than 24 hours after they had overcome BBL Cup finalists Glasgow Rocks.
Flyers go into the weekend just two games outside of the Play-Off positions, with a game in hand, while Lions hunt a place in the top three.
Word from the Flyers:
Flyers coach Andreas Kapoulas: “Friday against London is a different game and we want to bounce back – the recipe remains the same. We need to move on from the result from last week and put in a very strong performance on the road. We must stay in the moment, do not look back on the past and do not think too far ahead in the future.
“London are a very experienced side that can score in different ways and have one of the best starting fives in the league. We need to produce a complete performance. It will be a physical game and to win on the road at this point of the season, competing for 40 minutes is essential.”
View from the commentary box
BBL commentator Daniel Routledge: “This is an interesting game because you have two teams looking to bounce back from disappointing losses. They were contrasting defeats, Bristol having led big only to lose in overtime, while London were on the wrong end of the Worcester juggernaut last weekend.
“The Flyers have really turned things around after a slow start to the season and a victory here will see them into the Play-off places for the first time this season. I’m sure Flyers will be in relatively good spirits though, sure they wouldn’t have been pleased with how it finished last week. But for three quarters, they were on top against a very good Plymouth team and could easily be coming into this one on a seven-game winning streak.
“Lions meanwhile have been going the other way. A great start has given way to a rough December and January and, with Plymouth and Sheffield on the rise, their spot in the top four is under a bit of pressure right now. London also have a daunting fixture list over the next few weeks, so they need to get things going back in the right direction. It’s hard to get a handle on what’s not clicking right now. Their shooting numbers are down, but their offensive rebounds are way up which should in some way compensate. To me the loss of the injured Jamal Williams was huge, he’s a key component in any team he plays in and maybe they are still trying to work that through.”
* This will be Andreas Kapoulas’ 100th BBL game as Flyers coach
* Lions lead the league in free-throw percentage, at 79.72%
* Lions’ Rashad Hassan top-scored with 24 points when these teams last met
The first game of the night at 5.00pm will see Barking Abbey Crusaders go up against Oaklands Wolves in the WBBL Trophy South Pool.
Both teams have some of the best young talent in the league, including GB internationals Savannah Wilkinson of Barking and Kyla Nelson of Oaklands.
Next time on BBC Sport:
Friday 3 February 2017
Glasgow Rocks v Leicester Riders (BBL Championship) 7.30pm