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British Basketball League (BBL) WEEK 26 Preview

Our weekly look at the action ahead in the BBL.

Focus
Cheshire Phoenix v Leicester Riders

Where and when:

Cheshire Oaks Arena, 5.30pm Sunday 13 March

Summary:

Cheshire Phoenix’s result against Leicester Riders on Sunday could go a long way to deciding whether they spend the rest of the season looking over their shoulder, or up at the top-four.

Two victories against Surrey Scorchers in the past two weeks have allowed John Lavery’s men to solidify their standing in seventh position, level on points with eighth-placed Plymouth Raiders.

A win against Riders would put the pressure on the teams above them while defeat could give Raiders the chance to take advantage while those outside the top eight close the gap.

Riders, meanwhile, followed up their BBL Trophy success with another win last weekend, and host Manchester Giants on Friday ahead of this one.

Last time they met:

Cheshire Phoenix 76 Leicester Riders 91 (BBL Championship, Cheshire Oaks Arena, 07 February 2016)
Form:

Phoenix: LLWLWW
Riders: WTWLWW

Three Points:

Riders have won the last eight meetings between these teams
Akeem Ellis was named as a starter in the latest BBL All-Star Five
Victory against Scorchers last weekend was Rob Paternostro's 230th as a BBL coach, taking him to fifth on the all-time list

What they say:

Phoenix forward David Aliu: “We’re just grinding out games by not giving up and sticking together. That’s been the key for us over the last few weeks, just sticking together no matter what, and it’s helping us push through tough games like Sunday.

“Leicester will be a tough game. They’re a great team with a good coach but we’re up for the challenge and believe we can play with anyone. We pushed Leicester close at there place last time so hopefully at home with crowd behind us we can take this one.”

Riders forward Harrison Gamble: “Cheshire will be another big game for us. We have played them a couple times now so we know what to expect. Our focus will be playing our basketball and looking after the ball, taking every game as it comes one by one. We can’t start looking ahead into other games when our schedule looks the way it does.”

Fixtures
THIS WEEK’S GAMES

Friday 11 March 2016
CH 19:30 Esh Group Eagles Newcastle v Worcester Wolves
CH 20:00 Leicester Riders v Manchester Giants
CH 19:30 Sheffield Sharks v London Lions

Saturday 12 March 2016
CH 19:30 Bristol Flyers v Glasgow Rocks

Sunday 13 March 2016
CH 17:30 Cheshire Phoenix v Leicester Riders
CH 16:00 Leeds Force v London Lions
CH 18:00 Manchester Giants v Bristol Flyers
CH 16:00 Plymouth University Raiders v Glasgow Rocks
CH 15:00 Surrey Scorchers v Esh Group Eagles Newcastle

Source: BBL
Image: C.Cox