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Cheshire Phoenix vs Manchester Giants – Preview

by Vlad Ionasc

The Nix will tip-off their BBL Championship campaign with a classic North West Derby at the Ellesmere Port Sports Village.

Ben Thomas’ men dropped both games against the Giants in the group-stage of the BBL Cup and finished third with a 4-4 record, while Lloyd Gardner’s side finished top of the ‘North’ group with a superior 6-2 record.

Cheshire obtained an emphatic 99-84 victory over the Newcastle Eagles in their last game while the Giants were thrashed 101-73 in their first game of the regular season against the Sheffield Sharks.

GB guard Ben Mockford is expected to make his second Phoenix debut against the Giants, after re-signing with the club on Wednesday evening.

GAME DETAILS

Date: Sunday 31st October, 2021

Tip-off: 5:30 p.m.

Competition: BBL Championship

Where: EPSV

How to watch: Tickets available on the door / BBL Player

GIANTS SCOUTING REPORT

Photo by Manchester Giants

The Mancunians obtained six wins in eight games in the BBL Cup group-stage, with their only losses coming against the Glasgow Rocks, both at home and on the road.

The Giants have already dropped a game in the regular season, as Atiba Lyons’ Sheffield Sharks blew them out by 28 at Ponds Forge on Friday night.

As a team, the Giants shot 47.2% from the floor, 36.8% from behind the arc and 70.8% from the charity stripe during the BBL Cup group-stage. They made the most field goals (265 FGM) and three-pointers (84 3PM).

The Giants led the way with 28.5 three-point attempts per game in the group-stage of the Cup.

Manchester averaged the second most rebounds (38.9) and third most assists (21) per game in the Cup. They also finished in the top-three in steals, with eight per game.

Martaveous McKnight led the Giants in scoring, with 17.4 points-per-game and also racked up the most steals-per-game (1.6).

Tyrik Armstrong averaged 11.8 points-per-game on 53.7% shooting from the floor and 45.5% from deep and led the Giants in assists with 4.9 dimes per game.

GB legend Dan Clark led his side in rebounding, with 6.5 boards per night and also chipped in with 11.8 points and 3.5 assists per game.

KEY PLAYERS

Manchester Giants: Dan Clark — The 6’11 forward delivered a basketball masterclass in the first meeting between the two sides, as he led the Giants to an overtime win at the EPSV, tallying 25 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and three steals on 9-of-15 shooting (including 6-of-10 from three-point land) in the process. Clark will have to replicate that sort of performance for the Giants to bounce back from their 28-point defeat against the Sharks.

Cheshire Phoenix: Namon Wright — The American shooting-guard supplied the Nix with 33 points, six rebounds and four assists in their last BBL Cup group-stage game against the Newcastle Eagles. Wright led the Nix in scoring in both Cup games against the Giants, however he must improve his efficiency tonight in order for the Nix to have the highest chance of starting the 2021/22 Championship campaign with a win.

Photo by Adam Day

COACH’S CORNER

Photo by Adam Day

Ben Thomas: “We’ve seen how good we can be at times during the group-stage of the Cup and I feel like if we carry on playing the way we know we can then obviously we’re going to be a real force this season. We are really excited to get to work in the BBL Championship and have a consistent season, that’s the aim.

“The big win against the Eagles gives us confidence and it has definitely created a feel-good atmosphere within the team, but obviously we know that we’ve been beaten twice this year by Manchester and it’s now time to put out a better account of ourselves.

“We are very eager to get back on track against our biggest rivals and the aim is to come out with the win after the final buzzer!”

NEXT HOME GAME

The Nix are next in action at the EPSV against the Sheffield Sharks in the BBL Championship on the 21st of November, with tip-off scheduled for 5:30 p.m.

 

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