Sheffield Sharks need to be smarter

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SHEFFIELD Sharks have to play smart on Friday night when they take on a wounded Newcastle Eagles team, says coach Atiba Lyons.

The Eagles lost in the BBL Cup final on Sunday against Leicester Riders and Lyons predicts the reigning league champions will be firing in the first quarter.

He said: “They’ll definitely come out hot and want to force us into taking bad shots.

“We have to be smart and make sure we use the shot clock. If they defend well I’d rather us take a bad shot with three seconds left on the clock than the same shot earlier.

“That’s what Newcastle do, they pressure you and make you play how they want you to play.”

It’s a tough weekend for the Sharks. After Newcastle on Friday they’ll return to Sheffield before travelling even further north on Sunday to take on play-off rivals Glasgow Rocks.

Newcastle are once again contending for the league title with their cup conquerors Leicester their closest rivals.

Sharks, meanwhile, are hoping to make the top eight and qualify for the end of season play-offs. Lyons has been heartened by recent form which has seen them win four of their last six games but is looking for even more.

“We need to show we can do that against the top teams now,” he said.

* Follow The Star sports writer Richard Fidler on Twitter @richardfidler. For breaking news keep checking The Star website or visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sheffieldstar or Twitter at www.twitter.com/sheffieldstar