With ten games left in this season’s BBL Championship Head Coach has laid out his team’s plans and requirements to be ready for the end of season play-offs. Winning the league may well be beyond this Eagles side now but there’s still plenty to play for yet.
MacLeod started his preview of this week’s tough double-header against London Lions tonight at the Vertu Motors Arena and at Cheshire on Sunday by first of all looking back at last Saturday’s loss down in Surrey. A game many expected Newcastle to win.
“To be honest I thought the first half we dug ourselves a hole. We gave them some rhythm and some life. As much as we fought back in the second a couple of key moments went against us late on and we didn’t execute in those key moments.”
“We started the game very well particularly in the first three or four minutes but then we started allowing them to get too much confidence especially at the start of the second quarter. The disappointing thing was we were really prepared for that game.”
“We were up for it; we’d had a great week of practice but we just didn’t put forward the version of ourselves that we were perfectly capable of doing. We lost focus in the first half and even though we did bring it back and had a chance to go up late on we overpassed and picked up an offensive foul.”
“They came back down and hit a three which turned the game back around. So, digging a hole early and then not executing at key moments late in the game.”
Results have not been in Newcastle’s favour recently with the absence of Justin Gordon associated with that. Players have had to play and get used to different roles and then change again now that he’s back and fit. MacLeod knows the first thing Eagles need.
“We have to get our confidence back. It’s five wins and six losses since we won the Cup Final and we didn’t have Justin who was MVP in the Cup Final. It’s about hitting the reset button and drawing a line under previous things that have happened.”
“There’s ten games to go in the league which we have to focus on and then we roll into the play-offs. The biggest area for improvement is our defence. Particularly our interior defence and I don’t mean our bigs by that I mean all five have a responsibility to defend the interior.”
“That’s the biggest key for us as that sparks our offence as well. It’s how that links to the fast break, the transition and everything else so that’s the biggest thing we’re addressing. We’ve got two difficult games coming up this weekend so it’s by no means an easy one to look at.”
“It’s about refocusing about the details, about the small things and just rededicating to that and then wins will come I have no doubt about that.”
London are coming into tonight’s games on the back of their Trophy Final win against Plymouth Raiders so their confidence will be high and Cheshire have beaten both London and Leicester on their own court recently.
“Lions are going to be coming in being as high as a kite on the back of that win. We know that because we know the buzz we got when we won the Cup. They’re a good team and whilst it’s taken them a few months to figure what they are and how to use it they are there now.”
“They are where everyone at the beginning of the season thought they would be and that makes them a really tough task for us tonight. But we know that just as we know Cheshire will be tough on Sunday and we have to be ready for that.”
“Right now, it’s about getting on a roll. Feeling good about ourselves and feeling good about our game going into the play-offs. We don’t know what the format of the play-offs is going to be this season yet. We need to finish as high as we can and roll into those play-offs ready to make some noise.”
That roll hopefully for MacLeod and his charges starts tonight as the Eagles look to tame the Lions and then move on to Cheshire on Sunday.