by Vlad Ionasc
Cheshire Phoenix will get their BBL Championship campaign underway when they’ll clash against their fierce North West rivals, the Manchester Giants, at the George H. Carnall Centre on the 8th December.
The Nix won both meetings against the Giants in the BBL Cup this season, however they haven’t been at their best recently, having lost two matches in a row. The team dropped one game at home against the Glasgow Rocks and the other away against the London City Royals.
Cheshire will want to leave their recent losses in the rear-view mirror and get back to winning ways, however the Giants will be motivated to upset the Nix. The Mancunians have had a poor start to the season, which has been marked by terrible performances, injuries and other player issues. They have recently announced the signing of two new players, Jack Hudson and David Ulph so it’ll be interesting to see if they’ll be making their debuts against the Nix.
Point-guard Jonathan Mulmore left the Giants following their miserable BBL Cup campaign, so he’ll be one less player to worry about come Sunday night. However Manchester’s leader, Del’Vin Dickerson is still on the roster, he averaged 14.9 points along with seven rebounds per game in the Cup group-stage. He’s Manchester danger-man who will look to cause the Nix some discomfort on Sunday. In his last game against Phoenix, the 6’6 American forward scored 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds, however he wasn’t very efficient, as he shot just 33% from the floor. Cheshire will benefit immensely if they can limit him to another below-par shooting night.
Ben Thomas’ men will need to shoot a lot better than they have during the past two games if they want to pick up the win. The team shot just 40% from the floor in the loss against Glasgow and 46% against London. The three-point shot has been off too, the Nix only made 21 baskets from three-point territory, having attempted 63 such shots over the last 80 minutes of play.
Starting the game on the front foot must also be a priority for Phoenix. During their five-game winning streak Cheshire didn’t allow teams to create any early separation, which proved vital as the majority of the games went down to the wire. Parker Jackson-Cartwright put up 20 points and 13 assists in London last week and he’s already had two great performances against the Giants this season. He must continue to dictate the play and orchestrate the offence in order for the Nix to obtain a much-needed victory. Jalen Hayes has also enjoyed being on the floor against the Giants this season, the forward has scored 56 points on an incredibly efficient 23 for 30 shooting. If he can replicate his last two performances on Sunday night, the Nix will most definitely be heading back home with the win.