WORCESTER Wolves and Leicester Riders may be providing the warm-up for a final tomorrow (12.30pm) but vital British Basketball League points are at stake.
Their clash at the NIA, Birmingham, is followed by the BBL Cup final between Everton Tigers and Plymouth Raiders.
Fourth-from-bottom Wolves and Riders have yet to meet this season but, with mid-table congested, it is a key game for both teams.
Worcester player-coach Skouson Harker has not seen the East Midlanders in action but still has a good idea of what his side will be facing.
Harker said: “I’ve heard a bit about them. They’ve got some solid, big guys in Phil Missere and Tommie Swanson.
“I think those two, coupled with Tony Windless, gives them some front-court stability.
“I don’t know so much about their front court but they’ve added Flinder Boyd, who’s clearly a good player.
“Bradd Wierzbicki seems to have fitted in well since he joined them and he can cause problems.
“They’ve got some good veterans in Barry Lamble and Roderick Wellington, who bring stability to the team.
“They are a tough team. Rob Paternostro’s done a nice job in his first year in the job.”
Paternostro is expecting a tough test and said: “They have a lot of talented guys and are a good team.
“They can certainly put the ball in the hoop as they are showing every week although they do struggle defensively at times.
“If you aren’t ready to match them offensively you’ll be in trouble and, when I saw them against Guildford before Christmas, I was really impressed by their talent level.
“Their big guy Justin Brown is important to them as, when he’s on the floor, they are a very big team.
“He gives them good interior defence but their problem is keeping him on the floor.
“Their point guard, Will Funn, often goes unnoticed but I like the way he distributes the basketball.
“He does a really good job of finding their offensive weapons.
“Obviously Anthony Paez is a key player for Wolves. He’s made his point over the last couple of seasons and I know they were really excited to have him back.
“The important thing is to limit their runs as they have the ability to score a lot of points very quickly.”
Paez will be defending his ASSIST basketball dunk contest crown after the Wolves match and before the final.