Sheffield Sharks could hardly have made a more comfortable start to 2016 after strolling past Bristol Flyers at the EIS.
After cruising past Surrey Scorchers 107-55 last week, the Sharks followed up with a 70-43 win over Bristol.
If it was their lights-out shooting which earned them the win against Surrey, then it was their defence and intensity which was responsible for this victory.
Colin Sing earned the game MVP scoring ten points, making three blocks and putting in an all round excellent defensive effort.
The Sharks continued their fantastic offensive performance as they quickly got off to a 17-8 first quarter lead.
Despite star player Jerrold Brooks’ struggles from the field, TJ Robinson scored eight and grabbed five rebounds establishing Sheffield’s dominance in the paint.
Sheffield’s offence began to stagnate in the second quarter but their improved defensive intensity held Bristol’s shooters and increased their hold on the game.
The team finished the half 33-24 ahead. They survived a late 8-0 run by Bristol led by Mathias Seiland’s six points in the space of 52 seconds.
Coach Atiba Lyons told his team before the restart to ‘play faster and run the floor.’
Taking that on board, Brooks and Robinson combined for the first seven points of the quarter and handed the Shark’s a 16 point lead with just under two minutes gone in the third.
Brooks scored ten and added four assists as the Sharks entered cruise mode, sitting on a 55-25 lead with just the fourth quarter to play. The Sharks were able to see out the 27 point win.
The Sharks’ ability to control the glass by out rebounding Bristol 39-30 and force 23 turnovers allowed them to dictate the pace of the game.
The team returned to their poor three point shooting, managing just six out of their twenty one attempts.
However they held their opponents below 33 per cent shooting from the field allowing the team to record their best defensive performance of the season.
The manner of the win will please Lyons, especially as they have to recover quickly to face Derby Trailblazers on Sunday in the BBL Cup.