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Preview: Riders at Wolves

The Riders look to end an epic three-game series with a win, facing the Worcester Wolves in a battle for the head to head between the two sides. Tipping off at 7:00pm, the University of Worcester Arena is in store for another tightly contested thriller. 

Season So Far – Riders

In a face-off between the best defensive rebounding team in the Riders, and the best offensive rebounding team in the Giants last game, the Riders came out on top. The win righted the winning ship for the Riders, who now sit comfortably top of the table by 10 points with a 20-4 record. The match also marked the return of Leicester’s star point guard Geno Crandall, who was missed in his time away from the court as well as Centre Mo Walker who made his first BBL Championship appearance of the season. The Riders big men are heating up at the right time, William Lee and Darien Nelson-Henry combining for 37 points and 19 rebounds in Manchester. With the regular season approaching its end, the Riders look to hit the playoffs as hot and healthy as possible. 

Season So Far – Wolves

The Wolves currently hold the sixth seed with 24 points and a record of 12-13 but are fighting off competition right at their heels. Having played more games than the trailing teams, and losing in their last match, Worcester will be eager to get back to winning ways. The Wolves were victims of overtime struggles in their last performance, scoring drying up against the Lions to the tune of only 9 points. They will be encouraged by their effort however, playing the 4th placed powerhouse side so close. Being the second-best three-point shooting team in the league, sinking the longball at a 35% rate they will be confident they can keep up with anyone.

Ones To Watch

With a team as dominant on the boards as the Giants, the Riders big men looked to step up and flex on the competition. William Lee did this, earning the Player of the Game in the process. Lee was unstoppable on both sides of the court, finishing with a stat-line of 19 points, 9 rebounds and 2 blocks, while hitting an efficient 8-10 field goals. Lee possesses the frame and athleticism to terrify opponents and can be seen threatening to tear the rim off a couple times a game. What is often overlooked though is the fundamental side of his game. With a consistent midrange jump shot and the ability to put the ball on the floor, Lee transforms himself from a one-dimensional player to one you cannot give so too much space too. On top of this, his work protecting the rim is something to behold. Positioned at 2nd in the league with 1.3 blocks per game, and with an incredible 93.9 defensive rating Lee is a highlight reel on both sides of the court. This game will be the first the Wolves truly get to experience Lee, who was recovering from a knee injury when the teams met last. They must find a way of slowing him down and avoid finding themselves on a poster in the process. 

The last two games between these two sides were monumental clashes with, back and forth games with tense, dramatic climaxes. One Worcester player experienced almost every second of it. Over the two matches, Wolves forward Jordan Williams played 80 minutes 41 seconds. With 27 points, 29 rebounds and 10 assists over both contests, Williams was something of a hero for the Worcester side. Averaging 9 rebounds per game and feasting by getting to the rim, Williams is player who looks to impose himself on the opposition. It is likely you will see the forward slashing to the rim off a Lamarr Kimble dish and stuffing it in from above the hoop. Given his aggressive playstyle, and the William Lee’s protecting, fans could be in store for a physical match-up between both ones to watch Wednesday. 

Previous Meeting

The Riders last faced the Wolves on the 28th of February 2021 in the second of a double-header. After taking the first game with a clutch, last second three from Corey Johnson, the Riders had their huge 11-game win streak snapped. Finishing 84-82, the hosts Worcester Wolves edged out an overtime thriller. This Wednesday’s game serves as the decider of the series, long awaited by both teams. 

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.