Riders v Flyers
7:45 pm - Morningside Arena
Riders v Giants
7:45 pm - Morningside Arena
Riders @ Scorchers
3:00 pm - Surrey Sports Park
Scouting Report: Plymouth City Patriots

Leicester Riders are set to play the Plymouth City Patriots on the road for the first time this season after beating their opponents twice at home so far this year.

A win would see the Riders improve to

Here are three things to look out for in our game in the South West…

Close games 

The Patriots have featured in 10 games that finished within single digits in the Championship this season. Their record in those games is 2-8, including three losses that finished within a single score.

Two games ago, they lost another heartbreaker against the Surrey Scorchers 94-92. Should they have secured a defensive board following Saquon Jamison’s deliberately missed free throw with five seconds left, they’d have had a shot for the win.

Plymouth are 0-2 against the Riders this season, and they remained in both games until late. The first was an 88-81 Leicester win, and the game was within two points with less than two minutes remaining. The Riders saw it out late, led by four points from Mackenzie.

Mackenzie has put the Riders on his back this season and scored six points in the clutch against the Caledonia Gladiators last week to secure an important win.

Should Plymouth keep it close once again, the Riders may look to their captain to get over the line. But the Patriots will expect these close games to bounce their way later in the season, as they look to step it up in the clutch.

TJ Atwood

Plymouth’s leading scorer this season, and a player who has been in hot contention for a place on the British Basketball League starting five, is American TJ Atwood. 

Atwood went off for 17 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists last time he suited up against Leicester, and has been one of the Patriots’ most effective players all season. 

He is putting up 15.26 points per game from an efficient 52% from the field this season, leading the team. His 6.74 rebounds per game is second most on the Patriots roster, and he also leads them in steals with 1.44 per game. 

Atwood doesn’t need much of the ball to do his damage. He ranks eighth on his team in usage rate at just 18.85%, meaning the Riders will have to remain aware through 40 minutes of his presence on the court off the ball. 

If they’re not, he can go off for 30 as he did earlier in the year against the Bristol Flyers. 

Offensive rating

Despite the firepower of Atwood, the Patriots’ offence has struggled for rhythm this season, ranking last in offensive rating with 99.95. They score 78.46 points per game, one more point than bottom-ranked Sheffield Sharks, but rely on their offensive rebounding for second-chance opportunities. 

Their lack of consistent deep threat has been a contributing factor to this, as they shoot the lowest percentage from behind the arc in the League at 28.67%. From two-point range, they rank fifth, finding success attacking the hoop.

In addition to their shooting percentages, the Patriots have struggled to take care of the ball. They rank second in turnover percentage, giving the ball away on 16.04% of their possessions. 

The Riders will need to maintain pressure on the ball to force mistakes while limiting chances within the arc and pulling down defensive rebounds to hold Plymouth to their season trends.

The Riders return to home action on March 1, taking on the Cheshire Phoenix.

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