23 Nov 2012: Lions v Wolves
Venue: Crystal Palace National Sports Centre (map)
Tip: Friday 23 November, 7:30PM
Tickets: Click here
Statcast: Click here
London Lions and Worcester Wolves meet for the first time this season at Crystal Palace on Friday evening, with BBL Championship points at stakes.
Both sides have played 11 Championship games, and will start the second third of their campaign on Friday. The Lions have four wins and sit in seventh place while Wolves have collected six victories and are two places higher.
Wolves won two of the three Championship meetings between the teams last season as they had their best campaign since joining the competition, but although the sides have split their last ten meetings it is Lions who hold a 13-8 lead in the all-time series between the two franchises.
As his team look to consolidate their place in the play-off zone, Lions' coach Vince Macaulay (pictured) rates the Worcester team highly: "The Wolves are a strong outfit with a great coach in Paul James. They're a very versatile team that have stuttered a little this season but the fact their PG is missing has been a big problem for them."
Macaulay is a big fan of Wolves' Lithuanian power forward/centre Arnas Kazlauskas: "My favourite player to watch in the league is Kaslaukas as he loves the game so much but Stanley Ocitti and Alex Owumi are class additions to the BBL."
The Lions come into Friday's game on the back of a week which saw them record a win against One Health Sharks Sheffield before being beaten for the second time this season at UCP Marjon Plymouth Raiders, and Macaulay clearly wasn't pleased with how his team performed:
"We really have to stop slow starts, we weren't at the races against Sharks but in the second half we found a way to return to our principles and use our speed and athleticism to get what we wanted. Olu Babalola worked really hard for coach Atiba [Lyons] and I thought Williams shot the ball very well.
"I was bitterly disappointed with our first half against Raiders, we lost concentration we struggled with our assignments, but we showed when we got back on track that we could have taken something from the game. The key for us is to maintain the momentum of our move to London and continue to get better.
"Javaris Barnett was made to look like an All Star by us and Colin O'Reilly took advantage of our mental breakdowns, he's a very smart player as we all know."
Wolves' coach Paul James is impressed with Lions predominantly British line-up: "The Lions have some really good British players in their roster. Some of who have been around a while and others who have had an impact on the season.
"They have many players who can be game winners on the team. Mike Martin, Adrient Sturt, Duane James, Nuno Pedroso, Tayo Ogedengbe and Orlan Jackman have all put in good performances this season."