Saturday at 6.15pm, the Bradford Dragons face the current eighth-seeded Leicester Warriors in a clash that could see the Dragons leapfrog their opponent into the playoff positions.
After almost a month since the scintillating 100-82 away victory against the Derby Trailblazers, Coach Mellor’s side will look to start 2020 off with a bang as the race for the playoffs begins to take shape.
Heading into the second half of the season, the Dragons sit at 5-7 on the season after four victories in the last six games. With big wins coming against Barking, Nottingham, Westminster and the aforementioned Trailblazers.
Amidst the victories, came two narrow defeats against Hemel Storm and the Reading Rockets, who sit second and third respectively in the league. Proving they can match up with the very best in the division, the Dragons will be looking to take their upsurge in form into the rest of the season.
Chris Mellor says consistency is key in Dragons race to secure a playoff berth as his team opens up 2020 with a home clash.
“Warriors will be a good test for us in our first game back after the break. We haven’t played since Derby nearly a month ago, so hopefully, we are fully rested, and we need to blow the cobwebs away this week in practice and come ready to go Saturday night.
Dragons Captain Ricky Fetske says the Bradford Dragons are hoping to build momentum for the rest of the season ahead of Saturday evenings clash (6.15pm Tip-Off) against the Leicester Warriors.
“I am very excited to get back into action this weekend with the Bradford Dragons. Our last game before the holiday break was a fantastic team win versus the Derby Trailblazers. We will carry confidence from that game into this weekend’s fixture. This weekend, Leicester Warriors come into the Den and present a good challenge for our team.”
Speaking more about the challenge of facing the Warriors, who sit a place above the Dragons, Fetske added:
“They are led by American TJ Henderson who is 2nd in the league in scoring at 26.5 ppg. We will be focusing on executing our defensive game plan as well as taking care of the ball offensively.”
Leicester Warriors come into the Dragons opening game of 2020 with a 6-8 record. The clash against the Warriors could prove to be a pivotal four-pointer come the end of the regular season. The visitors currently sit two points above the Dragons having played two games more, but despite an inferior point differential, the Warriors do hold the head-to-head over the Dragons.
The Warriors beat the Essex and Hertz Leopards 94-85 last time out on December 21st but fell 86-69 to the Derby Trailblazers last Saturday evening (January 4th).
Last Time We Met – Saturday, October 5, 2019
NBL Division One - Leicester Warriors 72-66 Bradford Dragons
Matchday Two of the 2019-20 campaign pitted two teams looking to bounce back from opening day defeats. The Dragons a four-point defeat (82-78) on the road at the Thames Valley Cavaliers and for the Warriors, a one-point loss (91-90) at the hands of the Derby Trailblazers.
A tight game from wire to wire, the Warriors just edged the Dragons in the final moments of the fourth period. Dave Walsh top-scored for the Dragons with 18 points whilst Warriors talisman TJ Henderson led all scorers with 23 points.
Averaging 26.5 points per game, the 24-year-old is the second-highest scorer in the NBL Division One. Behind only Hafeez Abdul of the Essex and Hertz Leopards (27.0 ppg). Henderson is shooting 38% from the three-point line and 88.7% from the free-throw line. To go along with his scoring prowess, the point guard is averaging 3.3 steals per game. Good enough for joint third highest in the division this season. Despite his lesser stature, Henderson is also highly effective on the boards, pulling in 6.8 rebounds per game.
Warriors Last Five
- Saturday, January 4 – Leicester Warriors 69-86 Derby Trailblazers
- Saturday, December 21 – Leicester Warriors 94-85 Essex and Hertz Leopards
- Saturday, December 14 – Leicester Warriors 88-92 Hemel Storm
- Saturday, December 7 – Leicester Warriors 81-67 Westminster Warriors
- Saturday, November 30 – Worthing Thunder 102-87 Leicester Warriors
Photograph © Alex Daniel Photography