Preview – Force v Raiders & Raiders v Phoenix

Preview - Force v Raiders & Raiders v Phoenix

For the second week on the trot, the Plymouth Raiders face the prospect of a double header as the season rapidly approaches completion.

Unlike last weekend though, the Raiders will play two teams sitting close to them in the table.

Friday, will seem another must win game for Raiders, as they matchup with Leeds Force. A win against the Force, who’ve only managed a single victory all season, could realistically serve as the sides last on the season, taking into account the Raiders poor away form and difficulties putting sides above them away in the championship.

The Raiders were able to get the job done last week against an equally bad Manchester Giants side, winning 82-85. Playing from behind for a lot of the game, the strong duo of Tre Bowman and Joonas Jarvelainen combined for 17 points in the second, to put the Raiders ahead at the half.

Another strong run in the third sealed the struggling Giants fate as both sides failed to dominate in the fourth.

Although the win was the Raiders second on the road, yet again their traveling woes followed them when they faced tougher competition against the Surrey Scorchers Sunday. The fifth placed side exploited Plymouth’s weaknesses to pull away in the fourth quarter despite a strong challenge by their visitors.

Jarvelainen and Bowman again combined to make a good outing for the Raiders, with 14 points, 10 rebounds, and 16 points respectively, behind only to Stefan Djukic with 17.

Sunday’s second game of the weekend, will be of some comfort for the Raiders, as they play the hosts to the Cheshire Phoenix, for the first time since putting in a tough shift against the league champion, Leicester Riders last time out at Pavilions.

The Phoenix are a spot above the Raiders with an over-all losing record of 13 wins and 16 losses. The side will be desperate to push aside the bottom dwelling Raiders, as they vie for the tail-end playoff spot with Bristol.

Phoenix players will be extra motivated after a close fought win over their playoff competitor Flyers, last week at home. Three players (Gettys 32, Sandoval 22, Riley 21), went off to score a combined 75 points of their 100-97 victory.

With three players being able to put up vast numbers, the Raiders will have their work cut out on defence. It’ll remain to be seen if the sides conditioning will be able to hold up, as they play their third and fourth games of a nine-day period.

Head coach, Gavin Love, will look to his dynamic duo of Jarvelainen and Bowman to once again provide the sharp end of his offensive scheme, and if both can remain healthy, they could pick up back to back wins before the last week of the BBL regular season.