NBL Division One Preview - Week 21 (22/23 February 2020)

There are only four weekends left of D1M as we enter week 21 of the season and there are eight games to get stuck into. Teams will be looking to make further strides towards challenging at the top, cementing their playoff spots or avoiding the drop.

Game of the week

Solent Kestrels (16-0) v Reading Rockets (13-6)

Kestrels return after their BBL Trophy semi-final triumph over Bristol Flyers, to take on Reading Rockets as they have an unbeaten season to maintain.

Things look close in the table at the moment, with Thames Valley Cavaliers two points behind, but they have played three more games than Kestrels. However, Kestrels won't plan on slowing down any time soon and will want to finish the season as strongly as possible.

Rockets will want to improve on their fourth position in the table and won't want to fall further behind the rest of the chasing pack at the top, after slipping up against Leicester last week.

Elsewhere in D1M

Kestrels will also play Bradford Dragons (10-8) as both sides contend with a double gameweek. Dragons also face Nottingham Hoods (6-13), who are back to winning ways after beating the struggling Westminster Warriors.

It's Westminster Warriors (3-17) who get this week's action underway when they travel to Loughborough Riders (12-6). Third from bottom and only two points ahead of the teams below after the defeat to Liverpool, they will be desperate for a first win since November. Riders lost out by two points to Derby Trailblazers last time out and will be hungry to make amends on home soil.

Fellow strugglers Liverpool (3-17) face Leicester Warriors (8-10) as the battle for survival continues.  They'll be high in confidence after their win over Westminster Warriors closed the gap, while Leicester will be riding high themselves after their Rockets victory.

Essex & Herts Leopards (2-17) are also in the dogfight and they'll want their new BBL signings to come to the fore against Derby Trailblazers (12-7). They've come out second-best against tough opposition in the last two weeks but Warriors are within reach should they get back to winning ways.

Thames Valley Cavaliers (15-4) will try and keep as much pressure on Kestrels when they host Barking Abbey (4-13). Taylor Johnson was week 20's player of the week after 36 and 31 points in Cavaliers' two games, meaning Abbey will have their work cut out to keep him quiet.

Finally, Worthing Thunder (11-7) take on Hemel Storm (15-5) as the visitors aim to right the wrongs that led to their double game week defeats in week 20. Michael Williams Jr's 34 points wasn't enough to avoid defeat against Cavaliers but a similar return could be the difference against seventh-placed Thunder.

Full fixtures and stats

Saturday 22 February

2:00pm - Loughborough Riders v Westminster Warriors - LIVE STATS
4:00pm - Leicester Warriors v Liverpool - LIVE STATS
5:45pm - Essex & Herts Leopards v Derby Trailblazers - LIVE STATS
6:15pm - Bradford Dragons v Solent Kestrels - LIVE STATS
6:30pm - Thames Valley Cavaliers v Barking Abbey - LIVE STATS
7:30pm - Worthing Thunder v Hemel Storm - LIVE STATS

Sunday 23 February

4:15pm - Bradford Dragons v Nottingham McDonald's Hoods - LIVE STATS
5:00pm - Reading Rockets v Solent Kestrels - LIVE STATS

Main image credit - SJCB