Manchester Giants vs Plymouth Raiders – Preview

As the race for play-off places becomes ever more heated, Plymouth Raiders travel to Manchester this Sunday for a must win game against the Giants.  

A win in Manchester would see the struggling Raiders leapfrog their northern counterparts into seventh place, a tantalising prospect as we enter the final stretch of the BBL season.  This fixture is the first in a pivotal double header which sees the sides meet again at the Pavilions on March 31st.

After their defeat to London Lions last weekend, Plymouth have just one win in their last six games.  Despite the mounting pressure, Head Coach Paul James remains pragmatic as his side attempt to cement their play-off position.  

“Each game has been important since Christmas and to be fair we haven’t played our best basketball since Christmas.  We’ve had to really look at ourselves and what we’re doing.  There’s eight games left, eight very important games.  We’ve got to try and win the majority of those if we are to make the play-offs.”   

If the Raiders are to re-establish any semblance of form, they will need to pay special attention to Manchester forward Willie Clayton.  The two-time BBL player of the month was included in week 23’s All Star Five after a monster performance against the Riders, in which he recorded an impressive double-double of 25 points and 20 rebounds.  Clayton was able to prove his worth on both sides of the ball as he produced a game winning block in the dying seconds to break Leicester hearts and secure the win for Manchester.  

Donte Nicholas and Josh Wilcher were the stand-out players for the Raiders in their disappointing loss to the Lions, scoring 17 and 15 points respectively.  Wilcher’s accuracy from the field was impressive as ever but the Australian-born point guard will need to be more vocal on the court if the Raiders are to reach their full potential this weekend.  Nicholas has been Plymouth’s stand-out player all season and Raiders fans will be hoping that the star forward can lift his teammates one last time for this crucial clash.   

It has been announced that Plymouth will be without their influential captain Zak Wells for the remainder of the season.  Wells suffered a concussion in the game against London Lions and has entered a 28 day protocol period, after which he will gradually return to action.  

If you want to keep up with everything Raiders this weekend, you can follow the fox on Twitter @officialraiders.  To purchase your ticket for the game against Manchester on the 31st, visit https://www.plymouthraiders.com/tickets/.  Tip-off is at 3 p.m. 

Let’s go Raiders!

Josh Lines