by Vlad Ionasc
The Nix will aim to avenge their loss from the first Derby Day of the season when they’ll take on the Manchester Giants for the second time in the BBL Cup Group Stage later this evening.
Ben Thomas’ men are also looking for their first set of back-to-back wins, following their 85-78 triumph over the Sharks last Sunday, while the Giants are aiming to bounce back from Sunday’s 83-90 defeat against the Glasgow Rocks.
The two sides have identical records (3-2) after the first five games in the ‘North’ group of the Cup.
Date: Friday 15th October, 2021
Tip-off: 7:30 p.m.
Competition: BBL Cup Group Stage
Where: National Basketball Performance Centre
How to watch: BBL Player
GIANTS SCOUTING REPORT
The Giants won the first meeting between the two sides on the 26th September after they outscored the Nix 13-to-7 in overtime (final score in regulation was 65-65).
Since then, they’ve dropped a couple of games against the Rocks, whilst picking up a pair of victories against the Sharks and Newcastle Eagles.
The Giants are 1-1 at home this season.
GB forward Dan Clark tallied a 25-point, 10-rebound double-double, on 6-of-10 shooting from three-point range in the first meeting between the two sides, however he picked up an injury in Manchester’s last game and it’s unclear whether he will suit up tonight.
The Giants lead the Cup in three-pointers attempted (147) and rank second in efficiency (34% 3PT). Lloyd Gardner’s team is shooting 44.2% from the floor (5th best league-wide).
It’s evident that the Mancunians play good team basketball, as they currently rank second in assists (98) only behind the London Lions (114).
Martaveous McKnight (15.8), Josh Steel (13.8), Dan Clark (12.8) and Jamell Anderson (10.4) are all averaging double-digit points so far.
Clark leads the Giants in rebounds (7.6 per game) and also averages the joint-most assists (3.6) per night. Steel is the other Giants player to average 3.6 dimes.
Clark is shooting a league-best 52.4% from deep, while Anderson is one of only six players who are still perfect from the free-throw line.
Manchester Giants: Martaveous McKnight — The 6’4 guard and GB forward Dan Clark have emerged as Manchester’s most dangerous weapons on the offensive end. With Clark potentially missing the game through injury, McKnight will be presented with the difficult task of carrying Manchester’s offense against one of the best defensive teams in the league.
Cheshire Phoenix: Levi Bradley — The 6’7 forward has scored 17 or more points against every team the Nix have faced so far, apart from the Giants. Bradley found himself in early foul trouble on Derby Day and only tallied two points in 12 minutes against the Mancunians. The Nix will need Bradley to play a bigger role than he did in the first meeting between the two sides.
Ben Thomas: “The mood within the camp has been really good this week following our win against Sheffield. Energy and effort have both been at a super high level in the lead-up to tonight’s game.
“Dan Clark’s injury hasn’t changed our preparation at all, we’ve been preparing like he’s going to play and I’ll actually be very surprised if he doesn’t play.
“We didn’t like losing on our home court but it was a very tough game as they had the chance to see us whereas we didn’t get to see them, they didn’t play that weekend, while we did, so there were a lot of factors that went into that loss but now we feel a lot more prepared going into tonight’s game and we’ve seen that they can be beaten, so our target is to come away with the win.”
NEXT HOME GAME
The Nix are next in action at the EPSV against the Newcastle Eagles on the 24th of October, with tip-off scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Tickets are now on sale!