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    14 May 2023

    BBL Finals: Leicester Riders face off against London Lions in a classic underdog vs. favorite matchup, according to Rob Paternostro


    Leicester Riders Aim to Cause Upset Against London Lions in BBL Playoff Final

    The stage is set for one of the most anticipated basketball events in British history as Leicester Riders and London Lions face off at the O2 Arena on Sunday. The defending champions, Leicester, are looking to make it two titles in a row against this year’s runaway leaders, London.

    A Battle of David vs Goliath

    The odds seem stacked against Rob Paternostro’s men with their opponents having won five consecutive games against them. That said, he believes his team can still cause an upset despite being huge underdogs heading into the final.
    “Going into this game, we’re massive underdogs,” says Paternostro. “But our guys are excited and looking forward to performing.”
    This match-up has been dubbed a typical ‘David and Goliath’ encounter due to Leicester’s smaller budget compared to that of their opposition who have been backed by American investment firm 777 Partners.
    “We knew coming in how difficult it was going to be to win trophies with London in the league and what they’re able to do,” admits Paternostro.

    Fond Farewell for Darien Nelson-Henry

    All eyes will be on Rider’s captain Darien Nelson-Henry who is retiring after four years with the club. He hopes that they can give him a fitting send-off by winning the championship title. Nelson-Henry thinks highly of his teammates’ abilities, saying:
    “If you’re thinking about hanging them up, the last game you want to play is in front of thousands at The O2 arena,” says Nelson-Henry. “I’m looking forward to finishing my British career on a high note – I’m hoping we can put a bow on this thing by winning the championship.”

    London Lions’ Dominance

    The Lions have already won the BBL Cup final against Leicester earlier in the season and clinched the Championship title by a record margin, which makes them favourites heading into Sunday’s game. Nelson-Henry added:
    “The London team is well-funded and has brought in a lot of good players,” he said. They have brought together a collection of stars and played really good basketball.

    The Future for Basketball in Britain

    As for what comes next, there are positive signs that basketball in Britain is growing with more investment being made recently. Also, many young talents like Cam Hildreth are rising through the ranks, ready to make an impact at senior level.
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