Esh Group Eagles Newcastle v London Lions
Where and when:
Sport Central, 7.30pm Friday 2 October
Esh Group Eagles Newcastle appear to have picked up where they left off last season, but face their toughest test so far when they host the unbeaten London Lions on Friday.
These teams last met in last season’s showpiece BBL Play-Off Final, with Eagles prevailing in front of a record crowd to complete a clean sweep of BBL silverware.
But while Eagles have retained the core of that all-conquering squad and won their opening three games, Lions are also perfect through their first two with a much-changed line-up led by the likes of Demond Watt, Nick Lewis and Jamal Williams.
Last time they met:
Esh Group Eagles Newcastle 96 London Lions 84 (BBL Play-off Final, The O2, London, Sunday 10 May 2015)
- Eagles player-coach Fab Flournoy is one loss away from reaching 150 in the BBL
- Lions guard Nick Lewis needs just four more points to hit the 1,000 mark in BBL competitions
- Eagles are now unbeaten in eight games stretching back to last season
What they say:
Eagles forward Scott Martin: “We aren’t thinking about last year. This is a new year with a new team that must create its own identity. We are pleased with our start right now, however there is a lot left for us to improve on to get better as a team. With that being said I think the key to our strong start has been our familiarity with one another on the floor.
“Our focus will be on our defence as it always is going into a game. London have a lot of high-quality players that are playing well with one another right now, it will be difficult to disrupt them, however we need to find a way to make them uncomfortable on the floor.”
Lions forward Kai Williams: “Our good start has been a combination of guys coming to London for all the right reasons, wanting to win and wanting to play the right way.
“Coach Lloyd has done a great job so far in making us a defensive minded team and keeping us playing unselfish on the offensive end of the floor. It’s a long season and there will be ups and downs but as long as we play for each other on both ends of the floor and try to improve day in and day out we should have a chance to be successful.
“This weekend we will have to be tough on defence as they are an extremely talented team and have so many weapons. When playing a team like Newcastle we will have to make every look tough for them on the offensive end and also make them work on the defensive end as well.
“We are starting to gel more and more as a team on both ends of the floor and we will need our chemistry to be at its best this weekend. It will be a hard fought game that’s for sure.”