NBL1 Preview: Week 14 (30/31 January 2021) - live streams, stats and more

The NBL continues as January draws to a close with an impressive six games on offer for basketball fans.

The NBL Live cameras will be on the road in Worthing tomorrow night to cover the match-up between the Thunder and Thames Valley, with four other games set to take place on Saturday.

We take a look at all this weekend's games below, with links to live stats and live streams at the bottom of the page.

Worthing Thunder (2-5) v Thames Valley Cavaliers (5-0)

All eyes will be on the South Coast on Saturday evening for a marquee clash between two talented sides in Worthing and Thames Valley.

The Cavs enter tomorrow's contest following an unbeaten start to the season, and Coach Banks' side have picked up wins against both Loughborough and Barking since 2021 began.

Last weekend's 93-71 win against the Lions saw forward Hakeem Sylla grab Player of the Week honours for his 31-point, 14-rebound performance.

Bernard Hehetro is also in fine form, averaging 7.6ppg to go with 8.4rpg this year, while Taylor Johnson enjoyed a 20 point, seven rebound, six assist performance last time out.

Worthing are trending in the opposite direction, losing three of their last four games and shipping triple digits in all three defeats.

It is worth noting that Thunder have played top dogs Solent twice in that four-game stretch, but last weekend's 107-57 humbling by the Kestrels is a tough result regardless.

Worthing's two wins this season have come against teams currently outside the top eight, with Coach Stanley's side coming up short against teams higher up the standings. That doesn't bode well for this weekend - Thames Valley are currently third.

Guard Cam Hildreth remains a player to watch regardless of match up, and his NBL1 second best scoring clip of 26.2ppg is thoroughly deserved.

American Howard Crawford remains a tough match up down low, and both Zaire Taylor and Max Richardson have earned Player of the Week honours so far this season.


Loughborough Riders (2-5) v Derby Trailblazers (6-1)

An all-Midlands contest tips off the weekend as Loughborough host Derby in a battle between ninth and second.

Last season’s action saw the Riders win 93-88 win over DTB at the Clarence Wiggins Sports Centre in November and knock the Blazers out of the National Cup in December, before Derby finally gained revenge by edging a thrilling encounter in Loughborough, winning 83-81.

Derby go into this one following a two week break, their last contest was an 89-67 away win over Leicester Warriors that pushed coach Shaw's side to second in the NBL1 standings.

In contrast, Riders are ninth but it's worth noting that three of Loughborough's losses this year have come by five points or less, including an 86-85 defeat by Newcastle to begin 2021.

The hosts haven’t won in the league since 28 November, when they beat Leicester Warriors 99-97, but they did manage to knock off Bradford Dragons 91-68 last Sunday to reach the semi-final of the L Lynch Trophy.

Despite their poor start to the campaign, the Trailblazers head coach Matt Shaw is wary of the threat that the Riders pose and says they’re better than their record suggests. “Loughborough are always so well organised and prepared, so we will have to be at our best against them on Saturday.

“They have three more experienced players, who are surrounded by some of the best University aged talent in the country.

“Stopping the big three is really tough, but we also know they have a lot of depth and energy off the bench.”


Elsewhere this weekend

The two games above book-end three other contests to round out Saturday's action.

Reading Rockets (1-3) haven't played since late November so they'll no doubt be itching to travel to Nottingham Hoods (2-4).

Reading's guard duo of O'Showen Williams and Reis Pinnock provided some real excitement in Reading's four games to date, even if they were unable to produce more positive results.

Likewise, Victor Olarerin has been enjoying a breakout season for the Hoods, his line of 23.7ppg/6.5rpg/3.8spg makes the young guard a great player to watch this year.

Team Newcastle University (5-2) have been one of the surprise packages of the season, they host bottom side Leicester Warriors (0-8).

With efficiency leader Ronald Blain at their disposal, Newcastle enter tomorrow's game on a three-game win streak that they'd love to extend at Leicester's expense.

It's been tough going for the Warriors of late. They opened their season with a home defeat against tomorrow's opponent too, going down 84-76.

Essex Rebels (0-3) only played once in 2020 and are into double header action here as they begin their weekend with a visit from Bradford Dragons (4-1).

Bradford's 102-72 win over Oaklands last weekend may have sparked the emergence of a new trio for the team, with veterans Richard Sulcs and Ricky Fetske, plus new signing Great Osobor, all playing well.

Newly promoted Essex are yet to enjoy a D1M win, but the play of Joshua Moore has been a bright spot. He's currently averaging a team-best 14.5ppg.

Moving into Sunday, Essex complete their weekend with a tough trip to Hemel Storm (4-1).

Finding a way to slow down the guard-forward combo of Mike Williams (26.0ppg/51.2 3PT%) and Greg Poleon (26.6ppg/10.2rpg) is tough for any team, the Rebels will no doubt have their work cut out on the road.

Oaklands' home clash with Loughborough has been postponed following two positive Covid tests in the Wolves team.

This weekend's fixtures:

Saturday 30 January

1pm - Loughborough Riders v Derby Trailblazers - LIVE STATS/LIVE STREAM
2:30pm - Nottingham Hoods v Reading Rockets - LIVE STATS/LIVESTREAM
3:30pm - Essex Rebels v Bradford Dragons - LIVE STATS/LIVE STREAM
4pm - Team Newcastle University v Leicester Warriors - LIVE STATS
7pm - Worthing Thunder v Thames Valley Cavaliers - LIVE STATS/LIVE STREAM

Sunday 31 January

3:30pm - Oaklands Wolves v Loughborough Riders - Postponed
5pm - Hemel Storm v Essex Rebels - LIVE STATS

Main image credit - Luke Simcock