Atiba Lyons lays out what Sheffield Sharks need to do to gatecrash British Basketball League top four

Atiba Lyons believes Sheffield Sharks need to win all of their remaining four games to have any chance of snatching a top-four spot in the British Basketball League and home court advantage in the first round of the play-offs.

Sharks are currently sixth, their 29th consecutive season of play-off basketball already secured, but the carrot of playing at home where they have won 11 of their 15 games this season in the first and third games of the best-of-three play-off series is dangling enticingly. To do that, they need to ‘run the table’ by beating Manchester Giants across the Pennines on Sunday night, and then Caledonia Gladiators, Cheshire Phoenix and Plymouth City Patriots at the Canon Medical Arena over the next two weekends to have any chance.

They also need both of fourth-placed Newcastle Eagles and fifth-placed Leicester Riders to slip up.

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“We want to try and put ourselves in position,” Lyons told The Yorkshire Post. “But a lot of it will depend on other people’s form, so we’ve got to make sure that if there is a change in that form we’re in position to capitalise.

Sheffield Sharks head coach Atiba Lyons says his team need to run the table (Picture: Tony Johnson)Sheffield Sharks head coach Atiba Lyons says his team need to run the table (Picture: Tony Johnson)
Sheffield Sharks head coach Atiba Lyons says his team need to run the table (Picture: Tony Johnson)

“We’ve got to win out to have a shot.”

On paper, a return trip to Manchester Giants six days after convincingly winning 87-64 at the National Basketball Centre, looks like a straightforward victory to keep alive Sheffield’s hopes.

But Lyons will be keen to avoid such complacency, and believes it is down to his players to shoulder that responsibility themselves.

“We have to understand where we are in the season and what we’re trying to do,” he said.

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“If I’m having to do much talking then we’re probably not in the position to do as well as we want to do at the end of the season.

“The team and the players are the ones who have to perform to win the championship so it’s up to them to get into that mindset and execute.”

Lyons was pleased with the manner of the performance in the victory over Manchester on Monday, especially coming hot on the heels of a narrow three-point defeat to Leicester on Good Friday that left them in the position of needing to win all their remaining games to have a chance of snatching fourth.

“It’s a short run to the play-offs and I’m trying to get us all playing together,” he said. “I don’t think we played our style of play against Leicester, defensively we didn’t do some things we do as a principle for whatever reason, that was a little bit uncharacteristic. We did a good job of fighting back, but left it too late.”