Match Preview: Caledonia Gladiators (H) and Bristol Flyers (H)
The Manchester Giants welcome Caledonia Gladiators and Bristol Flyers to the National Basketball Performance Centre this weekend in the first home double-header weekend of 2023.
The match-ups continue a busy period in the BBL fixture schedule for the Giants – Friday night’s game against the Scottish opposition will be the second of six Vince Macaulay’s men will play in January.
The Giants currently sit at seventh in the BBL Championship standings with a 50% win record at seven wins and seven losses.
But they have lost just once at the NBPC this season, going down 82-89 to current champions Leicester Riders in an overtime thriller on 23 December.
A win against the Gladiators would see Giants leapfrog Gareth Murray’s side – and two victories from two on the weekend would place the Giants in fourth ahead of Cheshire Phoenix, if they fail to beat Plymouth City Patriots on Sunday evening.
All this, despite Giants having played the joint lowest number of games in the league, indicates fans can be optimistic for a successful business end to the season as the roster continues to gel around Macaulay’s team-first basketball ethos.
The Giants head into the weekend having poured in 128 threes this season already – this is the third highest figure in the league despite them having played three games less than league leaders in this category Bristol, who have 145.
Fans can expect more sharpshooting from the likes of Dirk Williams, who is second in the league in individual three-pointers made with 38.
Williams, Tajh Green and Rahmon Fletcher also rank in the top 20 for points scored in the league and will look to add to their totals this weekend, as the league’s highest scoring team in points per game with 91.4 seeks to continue playing aggressive, attacking basketball.
Green, William Lee and Anthony Roberson also make up three of the top six rebounders in the league, all averaging over seven rebounds a game.
And team captain Fletcher will showcase his full array of facilitative skills again, as he continues in his position as firm league leader in assists with an outstanding 8.9 per game.
Giants fanatics old and new will be able to enjoy a fantastic weekend of British Basketball at Belle Vue.
Tip off times are 19:30 on Friday and 17:00 on Sunday.
Words: Nathan Blackwood