Edinburgh Kings could scarcely have asked for an easier run-in as they seek to close out their defence of the Scottish Basketball League title, for they have just three more games – all at home – and against the bottom three teams in the league.
The first of them against Boroughmuir Blaze at Portobello High tonight, however, could be testing, especially as Kings will be without the man their coach Doug Reilly has identified as pivotal to this season’s success, Latvian forward Edgars Rekis.
Rekis was absent on the only occasions the Capital side have lost this season, to St Mirren in the league and Falkirk Fury in the Scottish Cup semi-final and, after he picked up a hamstring injury against Glasgow University last Saturday, Kings struggled before squeezing home by a point on the buzzer thanks to a stellar display by Lee Reilly.
Blaze, however, have injury problems, not least their two Scottish international guards and former Kings players Kevin Anderson and Laurie Costello, both of whom might be out for the season.
Blaze have another ex-King back, Adam Johnstone, who scored ten points in their 87-69 defeat to Falkirk.
“It was a hard-fought defeat,” said Blaze coach Simon Turner, who has targeted their last game of the regular season against Glasgow University as “critical”.
With games against the Glasgow Rocks a week tomorrow and Dunfermline Reign on March 10, the Capital side could afford to lose once and still stay clear of second place Fury as they have the advantage in the head-to-head games. But Kings will be keen to show that they can win without Rekis.