BBL Playoff Quarter Final
Tuesday 4th May 2021 – B. Braun Sheffield Sharks v Newcastle Eagles
Thursday 6th May 2021 – Newcastle Eagles v B. Braun Sheffield Sharks
Its finally here! May Madness begins for the B. Braun Sheffield Sharks with the two-legged Playoff Quarter Finals. The aggregate score winners progress, the losers go home. The Sharks face Newcastle Eagles with the first leg being played out at the Eagles’ Vertu Arena and the second at the University of Worcester Arena. And for all the SharkNation, both games will be screened live and for FREE on the BBL Player and the Sky Sports YouTube channel.
What to expect
The Sharks went 2-1 over the Eagles in regular season. Newcastle are a side that you take lightly at your peril however. They were among the early front runners for the Championship title and have a plethora of exceptional talent. All good sides need their general and the Eagles are no exception with two time MVP Rahmon Fletcher. The famed number 44 has had another outstanding campaign, pouring in 19.2 points per game with a league-leading 9.3 assists while shooting 50.8% from the field. Fellow guard Cortez Edwards is the sort of guy who can do it all. His 14.8 points per game to go with 7.4 rebounds and 5.1 assists only touches to surface of what he brings to the BBL Cup winners. Power Forward Justin Gordon has had a very productive first season on Tyneside with 17 points per game and 6.1 rebounds and fellow forward Evan Maxwell (13.2 points per game, 6.7 rebounds) seems to enjoy playing against the Sharks. Veterans? Drew Lasker and Darius Defoe bring their wealth of experience to the North East hardwood and while slightly younger, the likes of Eddie Matthew and Louis Sayers know exactly what is needed to get the job done in the BBL. The Sharks have met Newcastle six times in the Playoffs with the Eagles leading the match-up by 4-2. Will it be lucky number seven for Atiba Lyons and his charges?
The Sharks record in quarter final ties is 16 wins and 8 losses, with Coach Lyons recording 6 wins and 5 losses at this stage during his time at the helm. Since the introduction of aggregate ties, the Sharks are 2-2 against Newcastle and over all-time in Playoff basketball, the club have recorded 28 wins, 39 losses and 1 draw. History is history and the time to write a new chapter begins for this current crop of Sharks now. Since the qualification has been assured, the minutes have been shared across the roster in a bid to get everyone on the same footing for the two weeks ahead. London’s approach last Friday was markedly different, giving big minutes to their established players and it remains to be seen which is the right way to go. What is for sure is that the Sharks of 20-21 are more than capable of going all the way. On their day, they can beat anything the BBL can throw at them and one of the few regrets of this season is that they haven’t had a live audience to see their undoubted talents. One final statistic…the Sharks reached the Playoff Finals in 2001 and 2011 unfortunately finishing as runners-up in both. Could 2021 be the season that they get that win?
Last Time Out
Newcastle Eagles (Maxwell 22 Fletcher 16 Sayers 11) 77 B. Braun Sheffield Sharks (Hemsley 24 Ratinho 17 Nichols / Lillard 13) 89
To watch your B. Braun Sheffield Sharks live and for FREE in both legs of the Playoff Quarter Finals, go to the Sky Sports YouTube Channel: link here – Sky Sports – YouTube
Alternatively, you can go to the BBL Player and watch along again for free – www.bblplayer.co.uk
Both legs tip off at 5pm, so clear your diary and join the SharkNation for a thrilling watch-along!
Twenty games of top class basketball to end an unusual, but thrilling season – make sure you tune in!
B. Braun Sheffield Sharks v Newcastle Eagles, Tuesday 4th May 2021, Vertu Arena, 5pm Tip Off
Newcastle Eagles v B. Braun Sheffield Sharks, Thursday 6th May 2021, University of Worcester Arena, 5pm Tip Off