This past weekend may have been something of a bitter pill to swallow for Vince Macaulay and his London Lions.
Having been in control of fifth place in the BBL Championship for the majority of the season, their recent form and the loss of the head-to-head with Cheshire has now seen them fall back in to sixth place as the playoffs loom.
However, head coach Macaulay is refusing to let that affect the lead up to the post-season, instead drawing positives that can be taken away from the Cheshire clashes.
“From a playoff perspective, it was really good for us in terms of preparation. I’m pleased with the way we played on the night, but maybe it was not helped by some tough decisions.
“We’re really disappointed with the result though, we made plenty of good adjustments in the game, we shut down [Victor] Moses, and [Dominique] Coleman – but our real problem was [Reggie] Middleton. We had a great third quarter on Friday night, but just couldn’t do the same here.
Moses was restricted from getting his regular double-double, but Middleton in the third quarter caused chaos with his speed and movement with the ball in hand, changing the whole complexion of the game.
That said, Lions came out fighting from the get-go, and were dominant in the second quarter, but there were definite signs of how Macaulay wants his side to respond going in to the playoffs.
“We were very aggressive, which is something we wanted to do, but it was close to playoff basketball and that is what it is going to be like, and what we’ve been trying to get our guys to do.
“We’ve been sat in fifth position for the last few months, but what was important to us was to get ready for the playoffs and that’s what we’ve used these two games to do. I thought there were two very good teams playing against each other,” Macaulay went on to say.
The wonderful thing about playoff season is how anything can happen in any given game, and Macaulay knows all about that and is ready for what may end up London’s way.
Although it is looking increasingly likely that it will be between Worcester and Sheffield, he knows that in order to get to Wembley and win, you need to beat all that stand in your way, and is not putting too much pressure now on where his side finishes knowing the playoff spot is secure.
“If you take the level of basketball of the two teams on court here, I know the top four teams are playing at that level – Manchester are busting a gut to get in there as well.
“We’ve been there before with Manchester and had a humdinger and we didn’t want to be in that position again. We’re happy to be in the playoffs and chase for as high a finish as we can.
“However, you can’t gamble with where you finish, you just have to win as many games as you can from this point. As far as I was concerned, we were focused on as well this weekend to getting a club record of 21 wins, but I don’t care where we finish because we have to play either Newcastle, Worcester, Sheffield or Leicester!” he laughed off.
- London Lions face Worcester Wolves this Thursday at the Copper Box Arena, tip-off at 7:30pm – for more details visit www.londonlionsbasketball.com