NBL Division One Preview - Week 14 (4/5 January 2020)

The NBL returns this weekend for its first round of games in 2020, with all sides raring to go after a break over the festive period.

Here are the D1M games that get us back up and running in the new year.

Game of the Week

Leicester Warriors (6-7) v Derby Trailblazers (7-5)

It’s the battle of seventh versus eighth as Leicester host Derby on Saturday, with both teams looking to get themselves in the mix towards the top of the league standings.

Leicester will be hoping for more of a straightforward performance after overtime in their last two games of 2019 but face a Derby side who are looking to build on their high-scoring end to the year, a 124-91 win over Westminster Warriors.

Johde Campbell was on fire last time out with 34 points, including 20 in the second quarter against Warriors and will be looking to carry that form into the new year.

TJ Henderson’s 28 points in Leicester’s last overtime win versus Essex was also vital, with the guard boasting a second-best 26.4ppg in the stats tables.

The Midlands sides kicked off the season in some style when they met back in September, as Derby held off a late Leicester fightback to edge the contest 91-90.

Both teams will be looking to put on a similar show to kick off the year and make a statement for the rest of the season.

Elsewhere in D1M

Essex (1-11) face a daunting task as their busy weekend sees them travel to 12th-placed Barking Abbey (1-9) on Saturday before hosting the unbeaten Solent Kestrels (13-0) on Sunday.

Essex face contrasting opposition in the space of two days, with Barking just above them in the league standings with one win each so far this season. Having played two more games than their opponents, Essex will be hoping to get a positive result while leaving enough in the tank for the Kestrels' test the following day.

Loughborough Riders (7-5) return to action against Nottingham McDonald's Hoods (5-8), having ended their year in the NBL with a resounding 118-57 win over bottom side Liverpool.

Jordan Santiago registered 25 points with seven rebounds as Riders won comfortably and they will be hoping for a similar score against the 10th-placed Hoods.

Liverpool (2-11) head to second-placed Hemel Storm (10-3), as the hosts aim to keep the pressure on Kestrels.

Liverpool almost ended the year with a comeback win over Hoods before just falling short in their 102-97 defeat. Storm, meanwhile, bounced back from their loss to top placed Kestrels with two wins on the bounce and will be looking to make it three as they return to the court.

Finally Reading Rockets (9-4) take on Westminster Warriors (3-10) - a game you can see live on our YouTube channel - with both sides vying for a win after both of their years ended with losses.

Full Fixtures and Stats

Saturday 4 January

3:00pm - Loughborough Riders v Nottingham Hoods STATS
3:00pm - Leicester Warriors v Derby Trailblazers STATS
4:00pm - Barking Abbey v Essex & Herts Leopards STATS
7:00pm - Hemel Storm v Liverpool STATS

Sunday 5 January

4:00pm - Essex & Herts Leopards v Solent Kestrels STATS
5:00pm - Reading Rockets v Westminster Warriors STATS

Main image credit - David Amabilino