BBL Championship

Friday 7th December 2018

Leicester Riders v DBL Sharks Sheffield

Coach of the Month Atiba Lyons takes his DBL Sharks Sheffield on the short journey down to title holders Leicester Riders for the first game of December. The Sharks playcaller will be hoping to avoid the curse of the award but he will be facing a Riders side fresh out of Europe and keen to make their mark on this season’s BBL Championship.

What to expect

Leicester’s European adventure may be over but at 5-1 they are now handily placed to make their usual run on the BBL Championship. The Riders solitary defeat was at the hands of current leaders London Lions by 73-76 at the beginning of November. They reversed that by 65-63 just before the international break and are currently unbeaten in three. Leicester’s roster has been necessarily large to cope with the demands of their Europe Cup programme and it now remains to be seen who they retain for the domestic fixtures to come. Shining bright as ever is JR Holder, who is putting up 17.5 points per game with 5.5 rebounds. Deandre Burnett finished the Europe Cup as one of the leading scorers and he continues that form into the BBL with 16 points per game and 5.67 assists from the point. Leicester – Sheffield games are usually defensive affairs, especially in the Midlands and it will be interesting to see how both sides return to action after an enforced break given that they were both in fine fettle prior to it.

Shark Watch

After going 4 out of 4 in November, Atiba Lyons was deservedly awarded the Coach of the Month award, beating his nearest rival Vince Macaulay of London Lions, who suffered one defeat in the same period. History shows that the award is sometimes both a blessing and a curse and Lyons will be keen for his Sharks side to put up a good display in Leicester, especially considering that they have had two weeks in which to prepare. Prior to the break, the Sharks were playing trademark basketball and visibly growing in confidence and these things must not be forgotten with challenging games against Newcastle Eagles and London Lions amongst those to come in the run up to Christmas.

Last time out

Leicester Riders (Holder 20, Hampton 18, Bernardini 11) 79 DBL Sharks Sheffield (Williams 17, McKnight 16, Tuck 10) 67

Fans Corner

Missed us? Well wait no more because we are back this Friday down in Leicester. If you can’t travel, catch the game on www.livebasketball.tv. The rest of December sees us welcome Newcastle Eagles on the 14th. We then get back on the motorway to London (16th and 23rd) and Glasgow (28th) before rounding off 2018 at home to Manchester on the 30th. Give the gift of basketball this festive season and give the guys your support!

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Kieran Kenney