The London Lions will host the Leicester Riders in a valentine’s day BBL Trophy semi-final match up on Wednesday night at the Copper Box Arena, tipping-off at 7:30 pm.
The last time these two teams faced-off it proved to be an extremely close game with the Riders running out to a 78-77 home win.
The Lions are coming off an unexpected loss to the Worcester Wolves, unlike the Leicester side who are arriving to the game off a comfortable away victory against the Cheshire Phoenix.
Unlocking The Win
Both teams are in playoff spots in the league with London currently in fourth position, as Leicester ride high at the top of the standings in first place, looking difficult to stop. Rob Paternostro’s side are coming into this game on a six-game win streak, winning nine out of there last ten bouts.
Forward Brandon Peel and guard Justin Robinson have both been in a run of form and will be keys to the upcoming game. The Lions should also look to feed forward Corey Dixon who recently struggled against the Wolves, but has proved to be a big force in the league when in form. Dixon is one of the top in the league currently for defensive rebounds, and Vince Macaulay will be hoping that defensive intensity to push forward and get to the basket can prove successful for the team.
Another key to the game is Bajan-British playmaker Andre Lockhart, with his strong build allowing him to hustle hard on the court for the duration. Lockhart is a traditional guard who moves the ball around getting his teammates involved, whilst being a capable shooter. If the player can knock down his threes and spread the floor well, he could prove to be a handful for the visiting squad.
Energy Off The Bench
In an important cup fixture, it is vital for roster members coming off the bench to make an impact and stop the opposition from making a run. Forwards Joe Ikhinmwin and Paul Guede will look to keep the pace and offence moving, whilst big man Flo Larkai’s size and frame offers the team strength and physicality – Larkai’s energy could be key for the second unit.
Following the semi-final, these two teams will face-off another two times in a row after this game in the championship, becoming familiar with each other’s strengths and weaknesses on both ends of the floor. This means the Lions need to execute their plays extremely well and run alternative offensive and defensive plays to keep themselves from becoming easily predictable.
This is the Lions last home game of the month; the team will then travel back to Leicester before taking a three-week hiatus. A home win would give the team a confidence boost as they look to close the gap on the league leaders and build some momentum heading into the business end of the campaign.