BBL Championship Preview: 10th-11th January 2014

Friday and Saturday tickles the tastebuds ahead of the first major final of the season on Sunday at the NIA in the BBL Cup Final.

Worcester Wolves have the opportunity to put some more light between them and Leicester Riders at the top of the BBL Championship as they welcome the Durham Wildcats to Worcester Arena on Friday night.

Paul James’ side have won their last six games in a row, which includes a road win 100-86 over the Wildcats at the start of December. It was a relatively comfortable festive period for his side, as only one side in those six meetings came from the top eight in the table.

Durham almost slipped on a banana skin last weekend against Surrey United, but a turnaround in the second half saved their blushes. Against the Wolves, mistakes will heavily punished, and in order to keep in the hunt for a playoff spot, Lee Davie’s men need to recapture some of the form from the start of the season.

Glasgow Rocks host the Birmingham Knights on Friday, and after double defeats on the road, they will hope to get that first 2014 victory under their belts. Knights, tied with United at the foot of the table with a 0-16 record have been unfortunate in a number of games of late, pushing Manchester Giants losing only by 10, and even giving in-form side Cheshire Phoenix a run for their money.

The final Friday game sees Surrey United travel to Sheffield for an encounter with the Sharks – the previous meeting at the EIS saw the home side crush to a 88-70 win.

Jack Majewski’s side showed huge signs of improvement against Durham last Sunday, but could not keep that momentum through the second half and lost their chance for that first win of the season.

With the Sharks placed currently in third, a win over Surrey would see them join the Riders on 11 wins in the league and also put pressure on Newcastle Eagles to keep pace, and with both of those sides featuring in the BBL Cup Final, it is vital Atiba Lyons does not let this one slip by his side.

Surrey’s most likely opportunity of a win this weekend comes then against Manchester Giants, who visit Surrey Sports Park for Saturday’s only fixture.

The Giants came out of the blocks well last time out against Worcester, but could not haul the league leaders in once they moved through the gears. David Aliu had a huge game making 35 points and leading all scorers, but with just one road win all season, it is of huge importance victories start to come together as they come into a run of fixtures with sides all fighting it out for playoff spots come April.

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