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London Lions boss hails Rod Brown as milestone looms ahead of Durham Wildcats clash

London Lions playemaker Rod Brown. London Lions playemaker Rod Brown.

Sunday, January 26, 2014
11:08 AM

Head coach Vince Macaulay has praised the form of London Lions point-guard Rod Brown as he stands on the verge of joining the British Basketball League Championship 1,000 club.

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The experienced Texan playmaker last week steered the capital club to a 78-73 victory at BBL champions and cup holders Leicester Riders with a game-high 23 points plus eight assists and four steals – a performance which saw him named in the league’s team of the week.

The 35-year-old, who has played in 14 of the Lions’ 15 games this term, is just one assist away from the 1,000 mark in the league and he can reach that milestone - that only 12 other men have achieved - this afternoon (4pm) when Durham Wildcats are the visitors to Stratford.

“I think he’s having a particularly good season,” Macaulay said, adding: “I think he really wants to play, he’s really appreciating his ability to play at this age and he’s really excited about what this group can achieve.

“Unfortunately for us, during the three big games we’ve had this season, Rod has been injured and unable to contribute.

“He’s very much in good shape now and we worked hard on him over the Christmas break and he was exceptional.

“He directed everything that happened last weekend.”

Lions lost 83-73 on the road to Durham in October so, just as the Leicester game was, this is a must-win for fifth-placed London as they aim to win their head-to-heads.

On the back of a three-game winning streak and an imperious 8-1 record at their Copper Box home the hosts should start as favourites against a Wildcats side that sit 10 points behind them in ninth place.

However, Macaulay won’t be taking Lee Davie’s side lightly.

“It’s very much a tricky game,” the London coach said. “This is a team that likes to pass the ball very well, the shoot very well but they’re not particularly strong defensively.

“They take time off the clock and use all of it when they have possession and they’ve got an exceptional veteran player in Ralph Bucci, who is very smart and orchestrates their team.

“They’re the kind of team that we really have to herd into corner and nail down because they are very versatile and free-flowing, so it is a challenge for us.

“We feel very bad about the game we lost up there earlier in the season and the guys will be quite focused about getting that back.

“We have to win this one in order to keep the head-to-heads alive.

“In fact, this month we play teams that we are yet to beat [Durham and Worcester].”

The BBL clash is the headline act of a day of basketball at the Copper Box Arena.

The build-up, which takes place all day, will see a match-up in England Basketball’s women’s division where an undefeated Brixton Topcats ladies team face fellow undefeated London Westside women.

Eastside Eagles then take to the court at 1pm to face London Westside in EBL Division Two. The Eagles will be playing their second game at the Copper Box following partnership with the London Lions.

Coach David Lavinier of the Eagles has seen his team win four in a row and are working hard to make it five.

“We understand we have to stay focused to keep winning, we won our other game at the Copper Box and hope the venue helps us through again.”

Lions coach and chief executive Macaulay said: “We are delighted to welcome more London teams to the Copper Box.

“This is the home of London basketball and we want every team in London to be a part of it, it should be a fantastic day, anyone buying tickets can attend all the matches.”

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