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Preview: Riders at Phoenix

It all comes down to this! Should the Riders win their final game of the season on the road against the Cheshire Phoenix, they will be crowned winners of the BBL Championship title. 

Season So Far – Riders

The table toppings Riders’ season draws to a close with a high stakes game to win the title. They’ve enjoyed a dominant season, winning 23 of their 29 league games thus far, but need one more win to complete their aspirations. Leicester’s season has fallen on two key components, efficiency on offence and rim protection on defence. 

They shoot a BBL best 47.9% from the field, with six players averaging double-digit points, emphasising their team brand of basketball. They also top the statistical charts with their shot-blocking, swatting away 3.1 a game on the defensive end. The interior protection has contributed to Leicester’s second-ranked BBL defence, which held the Glasgow Rocks to 67 points and 36% from the field in their previous game. Leicester recorded a 26 point blowout, their third biggest win of the season, to carry momentum into this season-defining fixture. 

Season So Far – Phoenix

Having clinched a playoff spot in their previous game, should results swing the right way for the Phoenix, they can secure the fifth seed. To do so, they would need to beat the Riders in their final game of the season, a feat they accomplished earlier in the year. 

A disciplined outfit, the Phoenix average the least turnovers in the BBL, just 11.3 a game. Paired with eight steals a game, second in the league, the Phoenix generate extra possessions without surrendering many of their own. However, the Riders match up well to their offensive style, which operates mainly within the three-point arc—the Phoenix attempt the second most two-pointers and the second least three-pointers in the BBL. Against the league’s leading shot blockers, Cheshire may struggle to produce good looks at the rim. Should the Riders wall off the paint, the Phoenix, who possess the league’s worst three-point percentage (28.5%), may have a colossal task to overcome the table-toppers. 

Ones To Watch

Coming off the back of his career-high points tally in professional basketball, Mustapha Heron has hit the ground running after joining the Riders midseason. He had 26 points in the game versus the Rocks after staring aggressively with a 14 point first quarter. Heron grabbed ten rebounds and drained three of his six three-point attempts in a well-rounded effort to fill up the box score. The first-year pro out of Auburn College, once attended by NBA Hall-of-Famer Charles Barkey, is a high IQ defender, versatile scorer and a vital component of the title-challenging Riders team. 

Top 10 in the BBL in both points and assists, Kahron Ross’ electric season has put him in contention for the MVP award. Scoring 17.1 points per game, Ross is sixth in the scoring charts, and has showcased his ability against the Riders earlier in the year. In a 26 point performance, Ross hit a game-winner to beat the Riders, achieving his season-high in points in the process. Ross carries confidence into this tie, coming off a 24 point game against the Rocks to secure a playoff spot for Cheshire. The crafty guard is sure to cause problems for the Riders’ defence in this one. 

Previous Meeting

The Riders split the season series one apiece in their last encounter, winning at home 82-70. Heron led the way for Leicester, scoring 19 points and grabbing six rebounds. Meanwhile

It all comes down to this! Should the Riders win their final game of the season on the road against the Cheshire Phoenix, they will be crowned winners of the BBL Championship title. 

Season So Far – Riders

The table toppings Riders’ season draws to a close with a high stakes game to win the title. They’ve enjoyed a dominant season, winning 23 of their 29 league games thus far, but need one more win to complete their aspirations. Leicester’s season has fallen on two key components, efficiency on offence and rim protection on defence. 

They shoot a BBL best 47.9% from the field, with six players averaging double-digit points, emphasising their team brand of basketball. They also top the statistical charts with their shot-blocking, swatting away 3.1 a game on the defensive end. The interior protection has contributed to Leicester’s second-ranked BBL defence, which held the Glasgow Rocks to 67 points and 36% from the field in their previous game. Leicester recorded a 26 point blowout, their third biggest win of the season, to carry momentum into this season-defining fixture. 

Season So Far – Phoenix

Having clinched a playoff spot in their previous game, should results swing the right way for the Phoenix, they can secure the fifth seed. To do so, they would need to beat the Riders in their final game of the season, a feat they accomplished earlier in the year. 

A disciplined outfit, the Phoenix average the least turnovers in the BBL, just 11.3 a game. Paired with eight steals a game, second in the league, the Phoenix generate extra possessions without surrendering many of their own. However, the Riders match up well to their offensive style, which operates mainly within the three-point arc—the Phoenix attempt the second most two-pointers and the second least three-pointers in the BBL. Against the league’s leading shot blockers, Cheshire may struggle to produce good looks at the rim. Should the Riders wall off the paint, the Phoenix, who possess the league’s worst three-point percentage (28.5%), may have a colossal task to overcome the table-toppers. 

Ones To Watch

Coming off the back of his career-high points tally in professional basketball, Mustapha Heron has hit the ground running after joining the Riders midseason. He had 26 points in the game versus the Rocks after staring aggressively with a 14 point first quarter. Heron grabbed ten rebounds and drained three of his six three-point attempts in a well-rounded effort to fill up the box score. The first-year pro out of Auburn College, once attended by NBA Hall-of-Famer Charles Barkey, is a high IQ defender, versatile scorer and a vital component of the title-challenging Riders team. 

Top 10 in the BBL in both points and assists, Kahron Ross’ electric season has put him in contention for the MVP award. Scoring 17.1 points per game, Ross is sixth in the scoring charts, and has showcased his ability against the Riders earlier in the year. In a 26 point performance, Ross hit a game-winner to beat the Riders, achieving his season-high in points in the process. Ross carries confidence into this tie, coming off a 24 point game against the Rocks to secure a playoff spot for Cheshire. The crafty guard is sure to cause problems for the Riders’ defence in this one. 

Previous Meeting

The Riders split the season series one apiece in their last encounter, winning at home 82-70. Heron led the way for Leicester, scoring 19 points and grabbing six rebounds. Meanwhile

Ross filled up the box score with 13 points, nine rebounds and six assists. 

How to Watch

Although the game will be played behind closed doors, Riders fans will be able to tune in via BBL Player by purchasing a one game pass for just £4.99. Riders Season Ticket Holders will be able to watch the game free of charge by logging into their BBL Player account.