BBL Championship

Friday 4th January 2019

DBL Sharks Sheffield v Leicester Riders

The DBL Sharks Sheffield kick off 2019 on home territory with the visit of reigning BBL champions, Leicester Riders. The two sides played out a close encounter back on December 7th, when the Sharks triumphed by just a solitary point but both are now looking to bounce back from defeats that closed 2018 for them.

What to expect

The Riders currently sit in sixth with a 6-3 record and are several fixtures behind the rest of the league due to their Europe Cup exploits earlier in the season. Leicester ended 2018 with a 69-76 defeat at home to Newcastle and Head Coach Rob Paternostro will be looking for renewed impetus moving forward into the New Year. As you might expect, talent abounds in the Riders roster. Deandre Burnett had a great European campaign and he is leading the way for Leicester in terms of scoring with 16.33 points per game, a figure matched by fellow stand-out JR Holder. New acquisition Wayne Martin has provided explosive energy for the Midlanders with 6.17 boards per game and always influential is veteran forward Andy Thomson, who is also figuring in the rebounding to the tune of 5.78 per game. Coach Paternostro spreads floor time evenly between his players with an emphasis on measured defence and it is a formula that has been highly successful in recent years with the silverware flooding into the Morningside Arena. Whoever wins that defensive battle usually comes up trumps in Sharks / Riders contests and Friday’s encounter should be no different.

Shark Watch

The Sharks will be looking to bounce back from that 72-101 defeat to in-form Manchester Giants at the back end of 2018. Crucial to this will be the fitness of the squad. Leslee Smith missed the Giants defeat following that nasty head injury in the previous game in Glasgow and his consistent scoring and presence in the paint would be welcomed should he be able. It was a heavy-legged display against the Giants, understandable given the travails in the overtime game in Glasgow only two days earlier. A week of ‘r&r’ and some sharp reminders of the exciting basketball that the team were playing, particularly in that recent eight game streak, should see a different Sharks side taking to the court on Friday.

Last time out

Leicester Riders (Burnett 15, Martin 15, Thomson 13) 70 DBL Sharks Sheffield (Williams 33, Alexander 18, Marsden 8) 71

Fans corner

You were amazing in our last game against Manchester so we hope you can join us once again to get our 2019 off to a bang! Why not try our 3 for 2 New Year bundle offer? Pick 3 dates from our next four home games and pay for only 2! Head over to https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/sheffield-sharks-17652611314 to take advantage. See you Friday and bring the noise once again!

Next home game

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Andy Chubb