British_Basketball_League_(emblem)Esh Group Eagles Newcastle are guaranteed to be the Christmas number one in the BBL, and they will be keen to add two more victories to extend their unbeaten start to the season.
The BBL Cup Finalists host Plymouth University Raiders tonight in the second meeting of the two teams this season – having won 99-93 in October. They will then head to Cheshire Oaks Arena to take on Phoenix in a repeat of their BBL Cup Semi-Final encounter.
London Lions also have a tough double-header to deal with this weekend as they look to bounce back from last Sunday’s overtime defeat at home to Plymouth. They travel to Sheffield to battle the Sharks this evening, prior to hosting Glasgow Rocks, who climbed above the Lions into fourth last weekend, on Sunday.
And, Lions forward Jamal Williams insists it’s vital that his side make an immediate return to winning ways.
“This weekend is a must win for us,” he declared.
“I think it’s very important for our team to have some momentum headed into the break with two wins.
“Plymouth played well last week, and I give them credit but we did give that game away.
“After that loss, it has shown us that we have to stay consistent throughout the game with our play as well as our mentality
“As a team, we have to continue to trust the process and each other with a lot of new players to the Lions this season.
“We are still working on figuring out how to play with each other and our identity.”
Despite targeting two victories, Williams is under no allusion at the difficulty they face up against two strong sides.
“We play two teams this weekend, who are going to compete and play physical,” he insisted.
“Sheffield has a lot of talent with some very good individual players. The key will be containing (Jerrold Brooks) – arguably one of the top point guards in the league.
“We also have to match the inside play of (Mike Tuck) and (Antone) Robinson if we want to be successful.
“Glasgow took the first meeting against us, and we are looking to take the second. We know they play well together, so we have to do a solid job on our defensive principles.”
Following their game in Newcastle tonight, Plymouth return home on Sunday as they welcome Manchester Giants to the Pavilions. The Giants have fallen to eight consecutive defeats, but have won their last five against Sunday’s opponents.
Worcester Wolves take on Surrey Scorchers in the third and final game lined up for tonight with the visitors looking to take advantage of their depleted opponents, who are still without Perris Blackwell and Ben Eaves.
The Scorchers have only won once on the road so far this season, but go into the game on the back of a morale boosting victory at home to Manchester last Friday.
“Hopefully the Manchester win is the beginning of a good thing for us,” said Scorchers forward DJ Felder.
“It has given us some good rhthm in practice all week to be prepared for our next game.
“We need to stick togehter and play hard to help each other out on defence.
“It’s going to be a tough game for us, but if we play how I know we can then we should be fine – we just have to work together to get the job done.”
Also, there is one additonal game before the Christmas festivities begin as Leicester entertain Bristol Flyers in a rare Tuesday night clash in the BBL.
Andreas Kapoulas’ side head into the game on the back of successive victories, but will have to overcome their 0-3 record against the Riders to make it three in a row.