- National Teams
It was arguably the most dramatic week in the 2020-21 BBL season with twists, turns and surprising results all around the league.
Leicester and London both lost in the league, while there were some big wins in the battle for the playoffs as Bristol enjoyed a double to jump up the standings.
Latest results: BBL Championship: Scorchers 97-98 Lions, Eagles 80-73 Phoenix, Sharks 81-80 Giants, Flyers 89-67 Scorchers, Riders 82-81 Wolves, Raiders 63-60 Rocks, Rocks 67-92 Raiders, Sharks 83-72 Lions, Wolves 84-82 Riders, Phoenix 74-76 Scorchers, Giants 89-93 Flyers – BBL Trophy: Wolves 66-75 Raiders
There’s not much love for two-legged ties in basketball, but few would complain if anything serves up what the Leicester-Worcester double-header did this weekend. Corey Johnson struck the game-winning three on Sky Sports, only for the Riders to be undone on the road in an overtime thriller.
Leicester saw an eight-point advantage wiped out at home before Johnson’s heroics, and they emulated that effort with a late run wiping out an eight-point deficit to force overtime on the road. Conner Washington had 15 points off the bench in the two-point loss at the buzzer, though the Riders still maintain control in top spot.
Next game: v Cheshire Phoenix (A) – CH – 5th March
The good news: the Riders finally dropped another game in the league. The bad news: so did the Lions and they remain four games adrift with just two games in hand.
London survived a midweek scare as they battled past Surrey on the road with 20 points and 11 assists from DeAndre Liggins. However, they were unable to repeat the feat away at Sheffield as they fell to an 11-point loss, despite another double-double from Liggins with Dirk Williams going 2-of-13 against his former side.
Next up, their two-legged semi-final with Glasgow as they host the first leg on Sunday at the Copper Box.
Next game: v Glasgow Rocks (H) – TRO – 7th March
Finally, a good week again for the Eagles. They picked up a good win over the in-form Cheshire whilst seeing both of the top two drop league games to to offer further hope for their title chances.
Evan Maxwell put any injury concerns from last week behind him with a 24-point outing at home on Friday night with Cortez Edwards adding 17 points and Rahmon Fletcher handing out 10 assists to go with 14 points. Newcastle welcome Plymouth to the ECA this week before travelling to face Manchester on the road.
Next game: v Plymouth Raiders (H) – CH – 5th March
If the two wins over Newcastle were impressive enough, the Sharks enjoyed another momentous week as they defeated both Manchester and London on their home floor. Sheffield have found their form and now just need to cut out the off-nights that have crept up on occasion.
Antwon Lillard had 14-8-9 as the Sharks held off the Giants’ fightback on Friday night for a nail-biting one-point success before Jeremy Hemsley had 23 points against the Lions with Nick Lewis making his return to action over the weekend as his side maintained their top four league spot.
Our 1st league victory over the @London_Lions since 20th October 2017 – to end a run of 7 consecutive losses against London!!!
— The B. Braun Sheffield Sharks (@SheffieldSharks) February 28, 2021
Next game: v Worcester Wolves (A) – CH – 3rd March
Yep, probably the harshest drop in Power Rankings history given Plymouth won three games this week and advanced to a semi-final in Paul James’ 1000th game as a head coach in the BBL. It probably says more about the run of Sheffield, though the Raiders did struggle at home Glasgow as they avoided another upset.
Ricky McGill top scored with 18 points in the Trophy win at Worcester as the visitors pulled away in the fourth with the game level after 30 minutes. Plymouth edged out the Rocks by three points at the Pavilions before a far more convincing road display saw them win by 25 and take the head-to-head for good measure.
Next game: v Newcastle Eagles (A) – CH – 5th March
If you want a team that sums up the BBL this season, then look at Cheshire. Three wins in a week followed by consecutive losses proving anyone can beat anyone, and not even Nostradamus could accurately predict the outcomes on a weekly basis.
A seven-point loss away at Newcastle is by no means a bad result, but the Phoenix would have felt there was an opportunity for the taking – particularly having been level at the end of the third. However, there would definitely have been far greater disappointment in the result that followed as they suffered a two-point loss at home to Surrey, spurning the chance to move three wins clear of the group below them.
Next game: v Leicester Riders (H) – CH – 5th March
Beware the wounded Wolf. Injuries mounting, results not going their way and off the back of a Trophy exit and late defeat against the league leaders, Matt Newby’s side returned the favour in similar fashion as Lamarr Kimble turned nimble before the buzzer for the game-winner to stun Leicester in overtime.
Jordan Williams had 23-13-6 in the last eight loss to Plymouth as they ran out of steam in the fourth before a late 12-0 run had given them control against the Riders. The trading of game-winners ensure the Wolves stay amongst the top eight with two home games coming up this week, including against Surrey on Sky Sports.
Next game: v Sheffield Sharks (H) – CH – 3rd March
Every now and then, Bristol put together a big weekend. Unfortunately, it’s not as often as they would like, but their weekend double again provides the chance to build a run and cement themselves firmly inside the top eight.
The Flyers returned to action with an emphatic win over Surrey to complete a season sweep over their potential playoff rivals. Six players hit double figures in the 22-point success with double-doubles from Teddy Okereafor and Marcus Delpeche before Josh Wilcher led the way in the victory in Manchester with a 23-point haul along with seven assists.
Update: Bristol’s next two games have been postponed after their GB contingent were instructed to self-isolate.
Next game: v Cheshire Phoenix (H) – CH – 12th March
The Scorchers had the chance to take the major scalp of the Lions following on from their Trophy win, but came up short in a one-point loss before suffering a heavy loss at the hands of Bristol. They did manage to salvage their week with an important two-point success on the road against Cheshire to stay in touch with the top eight.
Ryan Richards top scored with 21 points off the bench in Sunday’s win with Cameron Hildreth blocking a potential game-winner as the Scorchers hung on to take a topsy-turvy encounter and stay in the mix for the playoffs. They head back on the road in a huge clash with Worcester on Friday night with another chance to close the gap.
Hitting his stride🏃♂️
Ryan Richards (@ryanr1chards) has been cooking inside during the last six games! 👀
— Surrey Scorchers (@surreyscorchers) March 2, 2021
Next game: v Worcester Wolves (A) – CH – 5th March
The bigger they are, the harder they fall and the Giants have been sliding down the league table at an alarming rate. Eight defeats in their last nine in the league put them on the outside looking in at the race for the playoffs with a tough upcoming schedule in March – and decided it was time to part ways with Danny Byrne with an announcement made on Tuesday.
New signing Jordan Satchell continued to make an immediate impact over the weekend as the Giants had a chance to snatch victory on the road against Sheffield. Jordan Whelan then had 29 points at home to Bristol as Manchester fell to a four-point loss to drop to ninth spot with their early season form a distant memory.
Next game: v Newcastle Eagles (H) – CH – 7th March
The Rocks have reached the halfway stage of their league campaign with just two wins to their record, although they once again showed how competitive they can be at the weekend in a tough double-header with Plymouth.
Gareth Murray’s side lost by three on the road in their return to the Pavilions – having claimed victory there in December – with 23 points and 10 rebounds from Ronald Delph, but Glasgow were comfortably beaten in the reverse fixture at home in a 25-point loss to remain four wins adrift of the top eight.
Next game: v Surrey Scorchers (A) – CH – 6th March
* Bristol Flyers 0-20 Surrey Scorchers – BBL Cup (COVID-19 regulations)
* Surrey Scorchers 20-0 Bristol Flyers – BBL Cup (COVID-19 regulations)
* Manchester Giants 0-20 London Lions – BBL Cup SF (COVID-19 regulations)
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