Esh Group Eagles Newcastle renew rivalries with Leicester Riders in the BBL Play-Off semi-finals this week with coach Fab Flounoy looking for even more from his red-hot BBL Championship winners.
Eagles made it 13 straight victories as they advanced past Durham Wildcats last weekend but, never one to settle, Flournoy (pictured) wants his team to tighten up as they travel to Loughborough on Thursday ahead of Sunday’s Sport Central return.
“We always look for more from our team,” said Flournoy
“We played well in patches against Durham but had a few too many defensive lapses for my liking.
“We are consistently getting good performances across the board though, from all our guys, which is nice. Also, we are managing to spread the load with our scoring which I think makes us a little tougher to guard.”
Riders reached the final four after overcoming Cheshire Phoenix in their quarter-final.
This set up a fifth and sixth meeting between these teams this season, with the previous four, including the BBL Cup Final, being decided by an average of less than two points – and Flournoy anticipates a similarly stiff test this time around.
Flournoy added: “I don’t expect anything different against Leicester, just two more games like the ones we have played so far this season.
“The only difference a two-legged game makes is that we have some time to look at adjustments after the first game. But in relation to competing with each other it’s just going to be more of the same.”
Last time they met:
Esh Group Eagles Newcastle 97 Leicester Riders 96 (BBL Championship, Sport Central, 14/03/2014)
What they say:
Riders coach Rob Paternostro: “We have played them four times now and in all of the games it has come down to the last few plays of the game.
“I think anyone that has seen these games between our two teams will tell you that it has been some great basketball to watch and we expect two very good games.”
Eagles guard/forward Charles Smith: “You can’t win it in first leg but you can lose it. So we will be going to Leicester to get a win and put ourselves in a good position heading into the second leg on our home court to progress to the final.”