by Vlad Ionasc
Cheshire Phoenix will finish off the year with a classic North West Derby at the National Basketball Performance Centre in Manchester.
The Nix will aim to obtain their first win of the season over the Mancunians and extend their winning run to three consecutive games, while the Giants will look to build on their 92-79 win over the Rocks and improve their season record over the Nix to 5-0.
Date: Thursday 30th December, 2021
Tip-off: 5 p.m.
Competition: BBL Championship
Where: National Basketball Performance Centre
How to watch: BBL Player
GIANTS SCOUTING REPORT
The Giants have a 5-3 record after the first eight games in the BBL Championship.
Lloyd Gardner’s side has only suffered one loss at home in the BBL Championship (88-89 L vs. Sheffield Sharks).
The Mancunians have won four of their last five games in the BBL Championship.
The Giants booked their spot in the final of the BBL Cup after they overcame a 10-point first leg deficit against the Glasgow Rocks on the 15th of December.
Manchester’s offense ranks fourth league-wide, at 91.8 points-per-game. The Giants are averaging 9.9 makes from three-point range, third most in the league only behind the London Lions (11.3) and Leicester Riders (12.4).
The Giants also rank third in free-throws attempted per game (18.1), only trailing the Sheffield Sharks (18.4) and Glasgow Rocks (19.3).
Gardner’s men take good care of the ball, as they’re averaging just 13.6 turnovers per game. Only the Sharks (10.9) and Riders (10.7) are averaging less turnovers than the Giants.
The Giants are averaging the second most blocks per game (8.5) and the third most steals (3.9).
As a team, the Mancunians are shooting 47.6% from the field, 38.7% from deep and 76.6% from the free-throw line.
Tyrik Armstrong is Manchester’s top scorer and playmakers, with 14.4 points and 5.3 assists per game, while Dan Clark leads the Giants in rebounding with 8.1 boards per game.
Josh Steel is Manchester’s leading marksman, as he’s currently shooting 47.1% from deep.
The Giants have triumphed in four out of the last five meetings against the Nix.
Manchester Giants: Tyrik Armstrong — The undersized point-guard scored 13 points, hauled in five rebounds and dished out seven assists in the last meeting between the two sides. Armstrong also pick-pocketed the Nix on 10 occasions and most recently dropped a game-high 25 points in Manchester’s second-leg victory over the Rocks.
Cheshire Phoenix: Larry Austin Jr — Phoenix’s energetic point-guard continued his fine form in Tuesday’s 77-74 victory over the Eagles as he dropped a team-high 19 points alongside five rebounds and three steals. Austin also held BBL veteran Rahmon Fletcher to just six points on two-of-seven shooting from the floor.
Ben Thomas: “We’ve got a huge game on our hands tonight! It’s a chance to take one win out of the season series and coming off a good result on Tuesday night we will look to ride that momentum against Manchester!
“I know they haven’t played since before Christmas so they might be a little bit rusty to start off the game so today it’s just a chance for us to keep improving and building the record that we want to have in the league!
“If we execute the game plan and do everything that we talk about at practice then I’m sure that we can come away with a positive result!”
NEXT HOME GAME
The Nix are next in action at the EPSV against the Sony Centre Fury in the First Round of the BBL Trophy on the 9th of January. Tip-off is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. and tickets are now on sale!