Friday 22nd March 2019 – London Lions v DBL Sharks Sheffield
Saturday 23rd March 2019 – London City Royals v DBL Sharks Sheffield
A ‘capital’ weekend awaits the DBL Sharks Sheffield as the BBL regular season bubbles up to a nerve-jangling climax. The Sharks find themselves in equal fifth position with the teams in third to tenth separated by just ten points or five wins if you prefer. In front of them lays a visit to the current leaders, the Lions, who have lost just twice in the league all season and to the newly-crowned Trophy winners, the Royals, fresh from their success over their city rivals in the Glasgow showpiece.
What to expect – Lions
The Lions bounced back from their overtime Trophy defeat with a crushing 67-93 win on the road in Plymouth. Brandon Peel (26) and Justin Robinson (24) led the way in terms of scoring but possibly a more important development was the return to the side of Kervin Bristol. The imposing forward missed the Trophy final due to being hospitalised and adds a defensive solidity to the Lions that compliments their undoubted offensive talents. The Sharks pushed the Lions to overtime back in December before going down by 92-82 and will need a performance of a similar magnitude to gain anything from the champions-elect.
What to expect – Royals
The Royals won that memorable 90-82 overtime Trophy final against their city neighbours the Lions a fortnight ago. They were led by Matthew Bryan-Amaning with 26 points and eventual MVP Ashley Hamilton, who contributed 25 in an action-packed display. Predominantly British talent has been the bedrock of the Royals performances and in Will Neighbour, Elvisi Dusha, Orlan Jackman and former Shark, Sam Toluwase amongst others, they have the cream of the crop. Currently in fourth with a 12-7 record, the Royals have the potential to usurp Newcastle and Leicester above them with their games in hand and will be hungry to do so.
The Sharks looked to be heading for a second consecutive victory against Cheshire Phoenix until the home side heated up to take the final quarter by 26-13 and the game by 80-73. 28 points from Momcilo Latinovic gave Cheshire the momentum as the Sharks went 12 from 29 attempts from beyond the arc in a bid to keep the game alive. Chris Alexander was his usual profitable self with 23 points 4 rebounds and 4 assists and while there were double-figure contributions from McKnight (12), Williams (12) and Brcina (10), it just wasn’t quite enough to match the ‘Nix. The Sharks are looking for another burst of inspiration and a return to a full strength roster could be just the spur they need as they as battle amongst a group of seven teams separated by just two wins.
Last time out
London Lions (Peel 22 Robinson 20 Spencer 14) 80 DBL Sharks Sheffield (Alexander 20 Smith 14 Williams 13) 74
London City Royals (Bryan-Amaning 22 Hamilton 18 Neighbour 17) 83 DBL Sharks Sheffield (Alexander 26 Williams 19 Tuck 10) 70
The return home is almost upon us! But before that, the guys are spending a couple of days in the ‘big smoke’ taking on the Lions and the Royals. If you can’t make it down to the capital, catch the games on livebasketball.tv. Keep your eye on social media as selected games are now being broadcast on YouTube too. And before you know it, March 29th will soon be upon us when the guys will need all your support in a huge game against Bristol Flyers.
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