Sheffield Sharks in great shape ahead of BBL play-offs, says captain Mike Tuck

Sheffield Sharks are playing their best basketball of the season and hitting their stride at the perfect time ahead of the BBL play-offs.

Wednesday, 28th April 2021, 6:22 pm

That’s the view of captain Mike Tuck as the end-of-season contest edges closer, with just one match of the regular campaign left – a home fixture against London Lions on Friday – and fifth spot in the BBL secured.

“We’re excited,” he said. "Maybe this game isn’t as important as other games but it’s still one we want to win. We want to work on our stuff and keep our groove going.

"Even though we didn’t win last weekend (against Plymouth Raiders), I still feel like we’re probably playing our best basketball at the moment. We have been able to dig in and pull out wins in extremely tough situations.

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Mike Tuck gets a shot away against Leicester Riders.

"I think we have turned a corner and we are hitting our stride right at the perfect moment. You don’t want to be a dysfunctional team heading into the play-offs.”

The Sharks will meet fourth-placed Newcastle Eagles in the two-legged play-off first round next Tuesday and Thursday, having already beaten them twice in the regular season.

“They are a team with great individual talents,” Tuck said of their threat.

"At moments in the season they have done really well putting it together but at other moments they haven’t looked like a complete team.

"They play a very fast-paced game. For us, it will be about stopping the main threats in their team and slowing down their key guys.”

Should they progress, Atiba Lyons’s team will play either Plymouth Raiders or Worcester Wolves – two teams they have also beaten this year – in the semi-final on Tuesday, 11 May before the final five days later.

Asked whether Friday’s dead rubber was therefore a help or hindrance following three consecutive double-header weekends and a big week ahead, 38-year-old veteran Tuck said: “I think it’s a good thing.

"If we didn’t play on Friday it would be nine days between games. You want to keep playing against fresh competition to keep you on edge and clued in.

"Rest and recovery has been extremely important. On availability, it’s looking like everything will be fine moving into the play-offs.”

UK fans will be able to watch all BBL play-off games free on Sky Sports’ YouTube channel.