3 keys for Leicester Riders at London Lions

The Riders take on the London Lions for the third time this season on Sunday, after falling to the league leaders twice at home earlier in the year.

Leicester have been in both games late, but haven’t found enough to get over the line. They now head to the capital, looking to take a game back. Here are three areas of emphasis ahead of the clash…

Stopping the three

The only side that has been able to match London’s elite deep shooting early in the season is the Riders, with both sides locked at the top of the shooting charts with a three-point percentage of 38.8%. 

The Riders have gunned from deep against London, shooing 40% over the two games and 44% in their most recent matchup, but on the other end have failed to slow down their opponents on the perimeter. 

It was Irish stretch forward Conor Morgan who heated up last time out, making four threes and scoring 17 points in a decisive first half of action. Morgan hit five attempts in the first game, totalling 36 points across the two games between the sides. 

Not only will the Riders have to maintain their hot hand in the capital, but their defence on the outside will prove a pivotal element of this clash. 

Bench contributions

Playing against a deep Lions squad, who have had seven different players put up double-digit games in the two meetings so far, the Riders will need contributions from all the way down the roster. 

It was 11-year Riders veteran Conner Washington and newly signed Sesan Russell who put the scoring load on their shoulders last weekend, Washington earning Wok 68 Player of the Game honours with 15 points after shooting 5-8 from beyond the arc.

Kimbal Mackenzie led the second unit in the first matchup with 17, as the Riders remained late in the game on both occasions thanks to their ability to field high-level scoring throughout.

The Riders will look for contributions from every player who takes the court to match London on the road.

Play clean basketball

Over the previous two fixtures, foul trouble has prevented the Riders from throwing their full force at the Lions. 

In the most recent game especially, the Lions commenced their game-deciding second-quarter outburst with star guard Jaren Holmes on the bench. He picked up two quick fouls in the first quarter and another in the second which saw him sidelined for much of the first half. 

Holmes played foul-free basketball in the second half and made an immediate impact on the game, but the damage was already done, and Leicester were never able to recover fully.

Miryne Thomas also played with fouls in mind late on, finishing up with four.

In order to have success at the Copper Box, the Riders will have to play foul-free defence and keep their stars on the hardwood. 

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