Cheshire Phoenix head coach John Coffino is wanting to see his side put together a winning run between now and the end of the season to help give their chances of securing play-off success a boost.
The Nix were beaten 119-92 at runaway BBL Championship leaders Newcastle Eagles on Friday but bounced back with a resounding 97-63 success over Surrey United at the Northgate Arena on Sunday.
With the Nix locked in to fourth but with a slim chance of breaking into the top three, Coffino’s troops face a tough run in with trips to third-placed Leicester Riders and a return to Newcastle to come, as well as games on the road at possible play-off opponents Glasgow Rocks and London Lions.
“You know what they say, it’s best to know your enemy so I suppose the games we have coming up give us a good chance to see how we measure up to the other top sides heading into the play-offs,” said Coffino.
“You don’t want to be finishing a season with a big blowout win as it can make you become over confident. But the games we have left will be a real test for us and be a good marker of where we are at.”
Coffino was pleased with the second half of his side’s win over Surrey on Sunday night, where the Nix, leading by two points at the break, torched the visitors in the final two quarters, outscoring the away side 52-20 in the final 20 minutes of the contest.
“We switched things up defensively and tightened it up and we really came out well in the second half,” he added.
“When you look at the weekend as a whole, we lost by 27 points at Newcastle and then won by 34 points on Sunday. That’s a 61-point swing in the two games. It was a great response from the guys.”
For both games Coffino was again without centre Paul Sturgess, who served the final game of his ban on Sunday for his part in an on-court fracas at Durham Wildcats last month, and influential point guard Mike DiNunno who is still nursing a troublesome injury.
But with Sturgess now back in the fold and DiNunno nearing full fitness, Coffino is hopeful he will have a full-strength squad at his disposal for the end-of-season run in.
“I’m not confident he (DiNunno) will be back for the London game (Friday, 7.30pm) but he is getting healthier and he is improving,” said Coffino, whose side now face three away fixtures.
“Paul is also back now after his suspension and things are falling into place heading down the stretch.”
The Nix are without a home league game until hosting Durham Wildcats on April 12.