Preview: Rocks v Lions

Preview: London Lions

There’s BBL Championship points at stake on Sunday lunchtime as Glasgow Rocks and London Lions meet at the Emirates Arena.

The Rocks go into the game in eighth place with a 2-3 record – and have games in hand over most of their rivals – while Lions are joint ninth with two wins from seven games.

Sterling Davis and his Glasgow team have clearly enjoyed their recent meetings with the Lions having completed three-game sweeps in each of the last three seasons. The Rocks hold a 28-21 lead in the all-time series between the clubs.

Davis expects an exciting game against the Lions: “They are a very athletic team who have multiple versatile weapons. Orlan Jackman has been putting up great numbers this season but that is without discounting the threats they have. They are a very deep team as far as contributions.”

Rocks come into Sunday lunchtime’s game on the back of a weekend that saw them slip out of the BBL Cup at One Health Sharks Sheffield but bounce back to take the BBL Championship points against Worcester Wolves.

“We lost our way against the Sharks,” admitted player-coach Davis. “It was disappointing to see us make so many young mistakes being that we have the experience we do. Micah Williams knocked down some big shots for them to keep them in it and also giving them some cushion.

“Against Wolves, it was a much improved defensive performance to what we have seen from our group this season. We still have a ways to go but you have to start somewhere. Stanley Ocitti caught fire for them which kept them in arms reach of us. He was a tough matchup for us.”

Rocks added Great Britain international Kieron Acahara to their roster in early October, and Davis is clearly pleased with his recent acquisition: “Kieron has been fitting in fine. He brings a different outlook to our team and does quite a bit of the intangibles for us that don’t necessarily show up on the stat sheets.”

For his part, Achara is excited to be playing in his home country and playing in a sparkling new arena: “I’m really enjoying it” said the 29-year-old. “It’s good to be at home and have the chance for my friends and family to watch me play. It’s a very nice arena with everything you could ask well. It’s well looked after a there’s a lot of families coming to watch us.”

Lions’ coach Vince Macaulay expects a tough game in Glasgow: “This will be our first meeting against the Rocks and I am expecting a tough encounter. Apart from seeing tape I haven’t seen them live but I don’t need to in order to know that Sterling Davis knows what he’s doing and in EJ Harrison [pictured], he has probably the best true point guard in the League and we will have to be ready for a mental battle.

“EJ is obviously key and Kieron Achara is an Olympic level player and I’m sure he’s bringing that world game mentality to the squad, the Rocks though are very much an ‘outside-in team’ and Sterling’s teams always possess that dangerous outside threat.”

Sunday’s game tips off at the earlier time of 1pm to avoid clashing with the football at nearby Celtic Park, but Macaulay is unconcerned about the early start: “The early trip is fine, we’ll be there the night before anyway so it just means we can get back home sooner. Thankfully we don’t have any Celtic fans in the squad though a few of our guys thought they could catch [Boston Celtics’ big man] Kevin Garnett in action!”

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