The Giants cap off the 2020/21 BBL season with a loss at home to 2nd placed London Lions 86-96. 

Vincent Macaulay’s side opened up today’s proceedings with a swift barrage of shots from beyond the arc. One each from DeAndre Liggins, Justin Robinson and Dirk Williams gave London 9 unanswered points from the off. This was quickly remedied as Donovan Johnson hit a three of his own to get Manchester off and running. Soon enough it became a shootout between both teams as both teams fired off three pointers back and forth despite Lloyd Gardner’s side continually opting for the physical style of point scoring which involved getting in the paint for high percentage shots. The inside method continually worked for the Giants as they cut down what was once a 14 point deficit to 4 points at the end of the first. 

The second quarter shifted momentum into Manchester’s favour as they ended up leading the Lions going into the second half by 3. Lockdown defense and electric energy in transition were to thank for that, along with a great defensive showing from Zack Powell in the second quarter coming up with 3 steals to halt the Lions offensive and also amp up his teammates at the same time. 

David Ulph was the true dangerman on the offensive side of the ball during this quarter as the ever reliable Ulph did what he does best, making his presence felt in the paint and using his feathery touch around the rim to pick up 10 of his 18 points in this game. Alongside his 6 rebounds in this game ( 4 offensive 2 defensive) confirmed his spot as the league’s leading rebounder for the season. His 100% field goal percentage from tonight also puts him at the top of that category for all Manchester Giants past and present. 

The game soon started to sour as momentum soon shifted again, this time in favour of the Lions as they started to vary their choice of shot and consistently getting to the free throw line, giving them good opportunities for points whilst also putting Manchester in foul trouble with 18 personal fouls spread across an 8 man rotation. Due to lack of physicality in defence as a result of fouls the game began to shift back into favour of London as they climbed out to a 12 point lead to end the 3rd quarter. 

The final 10 minutes of Giants basketball this season were of similar nature to the first quarter. A bombardment of three’s from both sides with Manchester seeming to be the victors of the 4th quarter shootout as they outscored London 17-15 for that quarter. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to change the tide of the game. 

I think as I have just said to the guys. I think today summed us up. Since I’ve been here. A game that would have been easy to clock off. A game where we fold early. They started well, They’re a team that can score a lot of points in a hurry. they are near the top of the table for a reason, one of the most talented teams. For us to respond the way we did was brilliant. Said Head Coach Lloyd Gardner 

A vast improvement has been seen from the Giants this season in comparison to the last as with a playoff push and a deep run in the BBL Cup with more strides forward to be taken in the following season. 

 

Words – Michael Blain

Photo – AllSportsPhotography