Giants clip Phoenix’s wings as they take another derby day victory over their rivals 109-81.
It was derby day once more For the Manchester Giants as they hosted the Cheshire Phoenix at the National Basketball performance Centre for some BBL Championship action on Sky Sports.
Cheshire drew first blood with a close range floater to start the scoring. The Giants answered right back through a fade away mid range jumper from Martaveous McKnight. Scoring started to dry up in the opening 5 minutes of the first quarter with only 17 points being scored in total. Once the teams had shook off the rust and removed the lid from the baskets shots were flying in thick and fast. After Cheshire pulled away slightly with a 5 point lead, a backdoor cut from Jordan Whelan and two makes at the free throw line from Team GB captain Dan Clark cut the lead to just a single point where Will Saunders converted from close range to take the Giants ahead. After a slight back and forth in the closing minutes of the quarter Both teams finish the quarter on level pegging at 18-18.

An offensive rebound and second chance points from Geno Artison got us underway in the second quarter, closely followed by a steal and fast break layup from Tyrik “The Magic Man” Armstrong to further extend Manchester’s lead. Armstrong and his steals did not stop there as he picked up another 2 in the next 2 minutes to extend the Giants lead out to the first double digit lead of the game. High octane and smash mouth defence was the go to for Lloyd Gardner’s men as they continued to force Cheshire into turnovers subsequently leading in them conceding more and more points to extend the lead. Once the floodgates opened it was hard for Cheshire to contain as shots kept falling from all up and down the Giants roster as they stormed away into a monstrous 24 point lead with The Magic Man picking up a staggering 7 steals in the first half. 

After the break Tyrik “The Magic Man” Armstrong opened Manchester’s second half account. Cheshire came out of the blocks with more aggression as they converted multiple easy baskets in an attempt to cut the lead back down to size. These attempts were quickly thwarted through GB internationals Jamell Anderson and Dan Clark with back to back monstrous dunks as if they were trying to break the backboard. The physical plays did not stop there as Dan Clark cut through the paint into a one handed flush and extended the lead to 29. The points kept coming via Josh Steel, Tyrik Armstrong and Martvaeous McKnight who extended the lead as far as 31 points in the third quarter. Everyone seemed to want to score tonight as Manchester had 5 double digit scorers to close the third quarter. 

As we entered the final quarter of action the Giants continued their dominant performance over Cheshire with the lead going no lower than 22. Cheshire’s trouble only seemed to pile on as Kyle Carey picked up 5 fouls as well leaving Cheshire without a pivotal Guard. Everything Manchester touched seemingly turned to gold as Jamell Anderson and captain Jack Hudson turning the screw and Francois Lewis taking Manchester into triple digits. Free throws from Martaveous McKnight capped off todays fixture and saw the Giants come out as victors and move to 3-2 on the season so far. 

The Magic Man once again putting on a show for the Giants fans and the also the viewers on Sky Sports as he finished with 13 points and a phenomenal 10 steals – this has only happened 

once in the past 13 years. He also flirted with a triple double as he finished with 7 assists. Tonight’s proceedings saw Manchester have 7 players have double digit scoring nights. Artison leading scoring with 14 followed by Clark, McKnight and Steel on 12, Whelan finished with a strong showing with 11 and Saunders with 10 and a pair of three’s. 

Head Coach Lloyd Gardner saidI think through all of the games that we have had we have had positive periods of play. I think it is something we have talked about alot is consistency of our performance, even in the game we lost against Sheffield we played pretty well in the first half just in the second half we let things slip. So we know consistency  is the important thing and we have talked about that a lot this week”.

Lloyd Gardner will be looking to take this momentum into the BBL Cup quarter finals on Sunday 14th November as Manchester take on the Surrey Scorchers at the National Basketball Performance Centre. A win will see them play either the Glasgow Rocks or the Bristol Flyers in the semi finals 

Words – Michael Blain

Photo – Harry Collins