Manchester Giants suffer a loss away from home against the Leicester Riders. The Giants fell short 102-89.
Two current Manchester giants suited up against their former team the Leicester Riders. William Lee and Corey Johnson put on a spectacle against their former employers as the pair played with a point to prove against their former team and former teammates.
Manchester hit consistently from the midrange to start off tonight going 3/3 early on and going 5/5 from the field in the opening few minutes. Manchester went into an early double digit point lead, after an early timeout the Leicester Riders started to up the intensity and both teams treated the fans to a high intensity and highly physical end to end first quarter of basketball. High intensity coupled with trickery from both Rahmon Fletcher and Kimbal McKenzie shows that there is very little to separate both teams now that both have found their rhythm on both ends of the floor. After leading for a vast majority of the quarter, Manchester Giants began trialing with less than 2 minutes left, a reality they had to face as they finished the quarter down 27-23.
Manchester struggled to find a play to shift momentum in the early stages of the second quarter. A host of mismatches coupled with loss of defensive assignments and rotations have plagued the Giants defense and allowed the Riders to capitalize and extend to a 9 point lead with 3 minutes into the quarter. The riders kept their lead through this smashmouth quarter. The further it progressed the closer it got once again, the Giants began to cut the lead once again which was spearheaded by a pair of free throws from Rahmon Fletcher after an unsportsmanlike foul on the 2X BBL MVP. The Giants cut the lead once more, bringing the adversaries within a single point of each other after a close finish from Dirk Williams. Patrick Whelan at the death of the quarter hit an off-balance three to put the Giants back where they started at the quarter.
Third quarter action saw the Giants regroup and closed the gap once again. Leicester Riders continued to make in order to keep it a 2 possession game. In an attempt to build momentum, Rahmon Fletcher throws a left handed lob to the human highlight reel Tajh Green who threw down a double handed jam. This double handed jam ended up being as good as it got for the Giants, the Riders extended the gap after a scoring run whilst simultaneously stopping the Giants to extend the lead to 18. A trio of Corey Johnson free throws gave the Giants a lifeline headed into the 4th quarter.
A closely contested final quarter with only 3 points separating the two teams in the scoring for this particular quarter. The final quarter had a slower tempo in comparison to the previous three as both teams got to the business end. Both teams preserved their energy ahead of their upcoming games this Sunday when tonight’s proceedings were all but done. An anomaly from tonight though as it is very rare for a team in the BBL to score 89 points and lose. A valiant effort from Vince Macaulay and his squad.
William Lee led the Giants scoring tonight with 23 points. Lee was also a defensive menace as he led in rebounds with 7, led in blocks with 2 and led in steals with 3. Rahmon Fletcher also finished with a double double in the form of 16 points and 10 assists. Tajh Green, Dirk Williams and Corey Johnson also finished in double digit scoring. Green with 19, Williams with 12 and Johnson with 11.
Head Coach Vince Macaulay said: “I think it was what we expected, a tough game at the Champions playing their first game at home. I thought we were casual in parts and that cost us in the second quarter, then a couple of threes deep in the third gave them a number they could defend”.
“Luckily we all have short memories and we’ll regroup and head to London with a smile”.
A double header of BBL Basketball this weekend as the Manchester Giants take on the London Lions this Sunday evening at the Copperbox Arena. The game tips off at 5:00PM on sunday 23rd October.