February Statistical Review in the BBL

35 games played. 16 victories on the road. 2 unbeaten teams. Two 40 point hauls. A double-OT thriller and a BBL Trophy semi-final.

The Molten BBL Coach of the Month award was given to Paul James after guiding his Worcester Wolves side to 5th in the league after six wins from six in FebruaryWorcester have boosted their top four hopes with five straight wins in the league and also progressed to the last four of the BBL Trophy. The 94-88 victory in Newcastle was their stand-out win but the Wolves have also completed double-duty for the last two weekends in which a victory was achieved after two additional periods against the London Lions. Alex Owumi (16p/10r/8a) and Carlos Fernandez (14p/10r/7a) both came close to achieving the rare feat in the BBL of a triple-double.

Rob Paternostro came close to winning the award for the second month running as the Leicester Riders also went 6-0 in February to maintain their place at the top of the standings. The Riders set up a semi-final clash with Worcester after going to Guildford to beat Surrey Heat 82-66. The league leaders’ defence continues to make a difference and Leicester managed to hold their opponents to an average of 60 points a game during the month and winning by 14.1 points on average.

At the other end of the spectrum, Surrey are in a poor run of form having slipped to sixth place in the league after such a bright start with Creon Raftopoulos‘ men losing all four league games this month. Mersey Tigers also suffered defeat in every league game in February as their quest for a first victory drags on. Glasgow had enjoyed a five game winning streak before falling to a 76-72 defeat at home to Leicester but are still level on points with Plymouth. The play-off race continues with London, Sheffield, Manchester, Cheshire and Durham all battling it out for the seventh and eighth spots. Phoenix and the Wildcats both went 1-5 for February while the Lions picked up 8 points from seven games, the Giants won two from five and Sheffield maintained 8th place with a 2-1 record for the month whilst opening up a 14 point lead in their Trophy semi-final against Cheshire.

Newcastle Eagles’ Kareem Maddox claimed the Molten BBL Player of the Month for the second time after a dominant February, averaging 21.6 points per game along with 13 rebounds per game. The BBL rookie tied his season-high points tally with 29 against the Cheshire Phoenix and ended the month with a monster double-double of 26 points and 20 rebounds whilst adding four assists, three steals and four blocks to an incredible stat-line. Maddox is having a stellar season with the Eagles and the American currently averages 15.8ppg (20th) and 10.2rpg (2nd) but is yet to score from beyond the arc this season.

Charles Smith ran his team-mate close with an impressive month averaging 32.2 ppg in four games with a total of 128 points. The league veteran had a BBL season-high 49 points against Durham at the beginning of the month on 8-10 shooting from downtown whilst collecting 16 boards to complete a memorable performance. Smith went 100% from the free throw line in the four games and has now gone 28/28 from the foul line over his last 13 games. The Eagles‘ forward failed to connect from beyond the arc against Plymouth (0-3) but managed to net a total of 19 with a 52% success rate. Most recently, Smith carried Newcastle to a win in Surrey with a 33 point haul and 10 rebounds. Joe Chapman dished out 10+ assists in three games over January/February and leads the league in that category with an average of 7.6.

Michael Ojo was the other player in February to have a 40 point game in his outing against Cheshire and followed that outstanding performance with 61 points in his next two games against Glasgow and Surrey on his way to averaging 29.2 points per game during the month. The Raiders‘ guard also nailed all 27 of his free throw attempts and has now made 42 of his last 43 from the charity stripe. Chez Marks has dropped to second in the league scoring charts but still had an impressive month scoring 31 points on two occasions including helping the ‘Nix to a vital win against the defending champions in Newcastle.

Game Night! Golden State @ New York

CURRY HOTTER THAN EVER IN NY BUT KNICKS GET THE WIN WHILE THE MEMPHIS STREAK GROWS & TORONTO LOSE GROUND ON PLAY-OFFS

Stephen Curry had an amazing night in New York with a career-high 54 points on 11-13 3PT shooting but the Golden State Warriors (33-25) fell to a 109-105 loss against the Knicks (34-20). Away from the crazy performance from Curry, the hosts were led by Carmelo Anthony, who had 35 points and EIGHT assists while JR Smith added 26 points and Tyson Chandler grabbed a career-high 28 boards to go with 16 points.

The home side made the brighter start as Anthony had nine points in the opening quarter to give the Knicks a 27-18 advantage. Curry made four 3-pointers in a 15-5 run to fire the Warriors into the lead on his way to 23 points in the quarter as it became 58-55 at half-time. The two teams traded the lead throughout the third before Smith nailed a couple of cruical triples and the Knicks led 84-81 heading into the final quarter. Curry netted yet another three before a driving lay-up high off the glass took him past his previous career-high mark of 42 points. The 24 year-old put Golden State back ahead with two more three’s which saw him set the mark for the most points in an NBA game this season. ‘Melo’ responded with a score from downtown of his own before making a turnaround jumper in the final minute to seal the win and make it consecutive victories for the Knicks after a baron run.

STAT: Steph Curry becomes the first player in NBA history to score 50+ points with 10 or more 3-point shots made.

San Antonio Spurs (45-14) fell to a surprise defeat in overtime as the Phoenix Suns (20-39) came away with a 105-101 victory on the road. Jermaine O’Neal rolled back the years with a 22p/13r double-double while Tony Parker matched the game-high effort for the hosts.  After an even start, the home side began to take control and led by as many as ELEVEN points in the third quarter whilst still enjoying a 77-67 cushion heading into the fourth on a Kawhi Leonard trey. Phoenix rallied in the fourth and despite being down 99-95 with 11 seconds on the clock they managed to force overtime as Wes Johnson made the buzzer-beating three. In the extra period, the Suns edged the hosts 5-1 in a tight battle with Marcin Gortat and O’Neal making crucial baskets.

Memphis Grizzlies (38-18) made it EIGHT straight victories with a 90-84 success over the Dallas Mavericks (25-32) after Zach Randolph (22p/10r) and Marc Gasol (21p/12r) combined for 43 points and 22 rebounds. While his former side continued their winning streak, Rudy Gay’s Toronto Raptors (23-35) were beaten by a Kyrie Irving-less Cleveland Cavaliers (20-38) by 103-92. DeMar DeRozan had 34 points for the visitors who remain outside of the play-off frame while Dion Waiters stepped up with 26 points in the absence of the Cavs’ All-Star.

Oklahoma City Thunder (42-15) stormed to a 119-74 home win over the New Orleans Hornets (20-39) for their third straight to close in on the beaten Spurs. Russell Westbrook was a perfect 12/12 from the FT line on his way to a game-high 29 points while the visiting Hornets had one player, in Ryan Anderson, in double figures with 14 points. Ty Lawson produced a 30 point haul to inspire a 111-109 win for the Denver Nuggets (37-22) on the road against the Portland Trail Blazers (26-31). Andre Iguodala equalled his season-high mark of 29 points whilst taking his average number of assists to 10 in his last three games while Portland were led by improving rookie, Damian Lillard‘s 26 point effort. Al Horford produced a monster 34pts/15rbs double-double to carry the Atlanta Hawks (33-23) to a 102-91 win over the Utah Jazz (31-27) for their fourth straight success.

STAT: Kevin Durant added his third triple-double of the season and his career with 18 points, 11 rebounds and ten assists.

Sacramento Kings (20-39) powered their way past Orlando Magic (16-42) 125-101 after their heartbreak in Miami last night. John Salmons led the Kings with 21 points on 4-5 shooting from long range while Orlando were led by a career-high 23 points from Tobias Harris as they were unable to make it back-to-back wins. Monta Ellis hit the winner at the buzzer to steer the Milwaukee Bucks (28-28) to a 110-107 win on the road in Houston. James Harden led the Rockets (31-28) to a seemingly comfortable victory with 22 points after the home side had led by as many as SEVENTEEN while Omer Asik grabbed a career-high 22 boards to complement a 16 point haul.

Detroit Pistons (23-37) began their run of games on the road with a win after edging past the Washington Wizards (18-38) 96-95. The home side rallied late on as Trevor Ariza compiled a late 8-0 run before missing the chance to win the game in the dying seconds as his 22 point efforts were not enough to deny the Pistons. Brandon Knight had a career-high night with 32 points while Jose Calderon was dime short of a career-high himself after dishing out 18 assists.

Check-out Steph Curry in action on a career-high night at MSG: (NBA)

Game Night! ft. Sacramento @ Miami

LEBRON AND WADE HAVE SEASON-HIGHS TO PROPEL MIAMI TO WIN IN DOUBLE OT; INDIANA MAKE IT FIVE STRAIGHT WHILE THE BULLS FALL BACK

Miami Heat (41-14) needed two periods of overtime to record their TWELFTH straight victory after beating the Sacramento Kings (19-39) 141-129 in a thriller.  LeBron James posted his first 40 point game of the season and dished out a career-high 16 assists with Dwayne Wade a grateful recipient on his way to a season-high 39 point haul while Ray Allen chipped in with 21 points on 5-10 shooting from beyond the arc. For the Kings, Marcus Thornton had a season-high 38 points off the bench with 8-12 from long range and DeMarcus Cousins added a 24p/15r double-double but couldn’t prevent a SIXTH consecutive defeat.

Miami trailed at the half and at the end of the third but a bright spell in the fourth gave them a 105-96 advantage with four minutes on the clock. Thornton made a trio of triples and a lay-in from Cousins with 8.5 seconds left was enough to take the game beyond regulation at 112. Thornton drained another shortly followed by a three from Isaiah Thomas to make it a one point game before LeBron split his free throw attempts and the game was extended further at 124. The reigning MVP took over in the double-overtime with 11 points to take him to 40 as the Heat outscored Sacramento 17-5 in the second period.

STAT:

Chicago (32-25) have now lost SEVEN of their last ten as they fell to a 101-98 defeat at home to the Cleveland Cavaliers (19-38). Carlos Boozer (27p) and Luol Deng (26p) led the hosts with a combined 53 points but a 25 point haul from Dion Waiters in the absence of Kyrie Irving carried the Cavs to the win. Meanwhile, the LA Clippers (41-18) powered past the Charlotte Bobcats (13-44) 106-84 as Blake Griffin led the way with a 24p while Chris Paul provided 13 assists.

STAT: It was the 24th time this season CP3 has dished out 10+ dimes in a game.

Indiana Pacers (36-21) maintained second spot in the Eastern conference with their FIFTH win in a row after seeing off the Golden State Warriors (33-24) 108-97 despite a 38 point haul from Stephen Curry. A strong third quarter (31-20) set the platform for the victory and the home side were led by 28 points from David West while Paul George and George Hill combining for a further 44. Brooklyn Nets (34-24) moved past New York Knicks in the win column with a 101-97 on the road in New Orleans despite some late resistance from the Hornets (20-38). Deron Williams had a big night with 33 points and EIGHT assists while Grievis Vasquez led the hosts in points, rebounds and assists with a 20-8-7 performance.

STAT: Deron Williams matched his season-high points tally he also recorded against OKC in early December.

Dirk Nowitzki had a huge 21p/20r double-double in vain for the Dallas Mavericks (25-31) as the Milwaukee Bucks (27-28) picked up the 95-90 win on the road. Monta Ellis had a game-high 22 points to keep the Bucks in the final play-off position ahead of the Toronto Raptors. Minnesota (20-34) had a strong second-half comeback to take their game with Phoenix into overtime but fell short as the Suns (19-39) came out with an 84-83 victory. Orlando Magic (16-41) recorded a surprise 98-84 win on the road in Philadelphia as the 76ers (22-33) suffered a sixth straight defeat.

STAT: Larry Sanders scored 10+ points for the sixth straight game for the first time this season whilst continuing to lead the league in blocks with an average of 3.16 a game.

The King amongst Kings: check-out LeBron’s season-high night against Sacramento: (NBA)

Sunday’s action in the BBL

RIDERS GROUND OUT WIN IN GLASGOW AS NEWCASTLE KEEP UP THE PRESSURE & LIONS AND WOLVES DO DOUBLE DUTY FOR THE WEEKEND

Sunday 24th February

Leicester Riders recovered from a slow start to defeat Glasgow 76-72 on the road to stay top of the league standings while Newcastle Eagles enjoyed a 90-78 success in Guildford over the Surrey Heat (full report to follow).

Pavol Losonsky led the Riders‘ charge with 22 points, eight rebounds and four assists as Leicester made it EIGHT straight victories whilst ending the winning run of the Rocks. Sterling Davis’ men led 24-15 at the end of the opening quarter but succumbed to the impressive defence of the visitors and Glasgow now drop back to fifth in the table.

The teams were tied at 11 after a sluggish start before Glasgow took control with an 11-2 close over the final three minutes to lead by nine. Gareth Murray sparked a 7-2 burst for the home side with five points in quick succession and the advantage had peaked at THIRTEEN points. However, this time it was the visitors’ turn to put together a run at the end of the quarter as an 11-3 spell helped cut the gap to 41-36 at the break.

When play resumed, the Rocks re-established their double digit lead but were then forced into a baron spell for nearly four minutes as the Riders reduced their arrears to a single point as Zaire Taylor capped a 9-0 run with a triple. Leicester finally took the lead- for the first time since mid-way through the first- on the buzzer as they turned defence into defence with a block from Drew Sullivan at one end transpired into an Anthony Rowe basket at the other.

EJ Harrison completed a three point play early with the first score in the fourth to restore the Rocks‘ advantage but that was to be their last lead of the contest as an 8-2 response from the Riders put them up by six. Spurred on by the Emirates crowd, Glasgow pulled themselves to within a point but crucially missed their final SEVEN shots from the field as Leicester could afford three spurned free throw attempts before Losonsky nailed two successfully to clinch an ELEVENTH straight win in all competitions.

STAT: Leicester have now won their last three league games in Glasgow.

Worcester Wolves capitalised on Surrey‘s loss to leapfrog the Heat in the table and keep alive their top four chances after beating Durham 83-79 on the road. The visitors gained the advantage with a strong spell after the half-time interval before holding off a final quarter fightback from the Wildcats. Alex Owumi led all scorers with 24 points while Mike Baldarelli had 23 for Durham and Andrew Keister contributed a 22p-14r double-double.

STAT: Carlos Fernandez came close to a triple-double with 14 points, 10 rebounds and SEVEN assists in 40 minutes.

London Lions also recorded their second win of the weekend after an 81-64 triumph at home to play-off rivals Manchester. The tip was delayed by 90 minutes as the Giants arrived late due to traffic. The Lions weren’t affected by the wait as they raced into an early 29-17 lead and never looked back. Adrien Sturt had a season-high 31 point haul for the hosts while the visiting Giants were led by a 24p-12r double-double from Ben Eaves, who also fired in four 3-pointers.

In the BBL Trophy, Sheffield opened up a 14 point advantage with a 74-60 victory in Cheshire to take into the second leg of their semi-final clash. A domiant 26-12 third quarter from the Sharks proved the difference as they took a step closer to a first major final since 2011. Mike Tuck was in inspired form for his side and led from the front with a huge 16p-19r double-double while Micah Williams added 16 points to celebrate his birthday with a win.

The finalists will become clear next week as the Sharks and Phoenix meet in the second leg while Leicester and Worcester do battle in successive nights in their semi-final. Mersey look for a first win as they entertain Newcastle while on Sunday, Surrey aim to return to winning ways when they host Cheshire and Glasgow play host to the Wildcats.

Game Night! ft. Cleveland @ Miami

HEAT MAKE IT 11 STRAIGHT; KNICKS END LOSING RUN WHILE KOBE CONTINUES HOT STREAK IN DALLAS

Miami Heat (40-14) almost threw away a TWENTY-TWO point advantage before executing down the stretch at the right time to defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers (18-38) 109-105. Dwayne Wade followed last night’s 38-point haul with FIFTEEN points in the final quarter to take him to 24 overall while LeBron James led all scorers with 28 points and provided EIGHT assists. Ray Allen (11p 3/3); Mario Chalmers (16p 4/5) and Shane Battier (14p 4/7) combined for 41 points on 11/15 shooting from 3-point range to propel Miami to their 11th straight victory.

The Cavaliers made an 11-5 start but the hosts powered on from there to lead 33-20 at the end of the first. The lead continued to grow in the second and a 14-2 burst from Miami helped them open up an 18 point lead at 64-46 going into half-time. Consecutive baskets from Chris Bosh and LeBron saw the lead peak at 22 points before Kyrie Irving netted a triple to spark a 10-0 spell for the visitors. C.J Miles then finished the quarter with a personal 11-0 run with a trio of triples, the last being converted into a ‘four point play’ before adding a fifth after coach Erik Spoelstra was given a technical as his side now trailed 82-81. Miles netted another half-way through the fourth to give the Cavs an eight point advantage at 97-89 before Wade inspired an 11-2 response with nine points to re-take the lead. Battier nailed a corner three before Wade‘s driving dunk all but secured the win in the closing stages.

STAT: Cleveland outscored their opponents 36-17 in the third quarter and it was the most points Miami have let up in that period all season.

Oklahoma City Thunder (41-15) powered to a 102-72 success at home to the Chicago Bulls (32-24) as Russell Westbrook led the way with a game high 23 points. Their main Western conference rivals San Antonio (45-13)returned to winning ways despite the absence of Tony Parker. Kawhi Leonard top scored with 16 points and collected nine rebounds as the Spurs defeated the Phoenix Suns 97-87 on the road.

STAT: Goran Dragic dished out 10+ assists for the fourth consecutive game for the first time this season.

Kobe Bryant led the LA Lakers (28-29) to their third straight win with a 38-point haul enough to edge his side past the Dallas Mavericks (25-30) 103-99. Portland (26-30) kept their play-off hopes alive as they triumphed over the Boston Celtics (29-27) 92-86 to snap a SEVEN game losing streak. Another team to end their losing run was the New York Knicks (33-20) but they were made to work hard to do so before collecting a 99-93 win over the 76ers (22-32). Carmelo Anthony led the hosts with 29 points while fellow All-Star Jrue Holiday enjoyed a 30 point night for Philadelphia.

STAT: It was the 5th time this season that Jrue Holiday posted 30+ points in a game.

Memphis Grizzlies (37-18) kept their winning run going with a low-scoring victory over the Nets (33-24) to make it seven in a row. Zach Randolph led the way with a 16p-14r double-double in the 76-72 win while Deron Williams led all scorers with 24 points for Brooklyn. In the Sky Sports Sunday game, the Golden State Warriors (33-23) came from behind to defeat the Minnesota Timberwolves (20-33) 100-99 on the road. Jarrett Jack stepped up from the bench once again with 23 points from the Warriors as they outscored their opponents 24-18 in the final quarter. In the final game, New Orleans (20-37) eased to a 110-95 victory over the Sacramento Kings (19-38) in a basement battle in the West.

STAT: Ricky Rubio came close to a quadruple-double for Minnesota w/ 16pts/11as/8rbs/6st.

CHECK-OUT the Spaniard in action below with more astonishing dimes from Rubio (NBA):