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Macaulay plots Durham downfall to spark London Lions’ Wembley push

14:45 06 February 2014

London Lions head coach Vince Macaulay.

London Lions head coach Vince Macaulay.

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London Lions head coach Vince Macaulay is desperate to return to winning ways at home Durham Wildcats tonight (7.30pm) after a difficult week.

The Copper Box-based outfit have lost two league games in a row and their British Basketball League Trophy campaign was ended by in-form Worcester Wolves on Sunday.

That just leaves Lions to focus on league action now and the prize of a trip to Wembley Arena for the BBL final is one that motivates Macaulay.

He said: “We’re left to try and finish in the top four and get ourselves ready for the play-offs.

“We know it’s going to be in London at Wembley and we want to be there.”

Lions host Wildcats tonight (Thursday) looking to right the wrongs of their performance in last month’s 83-72 home loss.

“We’re looking to give a better display,” added Macaulay. “We need to turn our home court back to our advantage so we’ve got to put some things together to make sure we can.

“As far as they’re concerned we’ve got to come out and be ready to play. We need to restrict their passing and their medium range jump shots. They’re very fluid and we need to break that up.”

Lions followed that Durham defeat with a 96-93 overtime loss to Sheffield Sharks last Friday before their 82-73 trophy reverse.

“It was a tough encounter,” said Macaulay of the defeat to the Wolves. “We battled hard. I think there was a period in the latter parts of the third quarter where we lost our way a little bit.

“It’s always going to be a grind against a team like this.”

The Lions committed more than five fouls in all but one quarter, but Macaulay did not see that as the reason for their downfall, adding: “As long as you don’t waste them, fouls are part of the game.

“I don’t think that was an issue. Down the stretch we weren’t able to execute to the best of what I’d like. It’s been an incredibly tough week.

“The champions [Leicester Riders] have lost four of the last five – it’s a tough competition.

“Nobody is taking anything for granted. You’ve got to show up to play and we will continue to do that for the rest of the way.

“Confidence has been affected. When you’re looking to win you don’t want to run into the title winning teams. We’ve got to come out with a stronger mental fortitude.”

Fans attending tonight’s encounter will be affected by a tube strike, with no Central Line service to Stratford, while the Jubilee Line is only running as far as Waterloo. A normal service is expected on the London Overground.

Macaulay added: “It’s probably going to have an affect. We hope people can get on the buses and get out here to support us.”

Matchgoers should check how they are going to get to the Copper Box ahead of travelling.

Sunday sees the Lions making the trip to Surrey United – a side that have only won two games all season.

Macaulay said: “We need points to get up the table and we’re going to do the best that we can.”

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