Despite a valiant effort from the Manchester Giants, they fell in a close battle to the London Lions in heartbreaking fashion, losing by 92-88 at the Copper Box Arena against the reigning BBL regular season champions, and Basketball Champions League entrants. 

It was an electric start from the Giants, as they dropped 34 first quarter points on a quality Lions team, as Jordan Whelan scored an aggressive 10 early points on his former side before Alex Ouandie hit 12 points in a row for a 34-19 lead after just ten minutes. That was combined with a high level of defensive intensity, led by Donovan Johnson who kept former NBA man DeAndre Liggins to a season-low of just three points all night.

The Lions are one of the best teams in the league for a reason however, and that was on show in the second and third quarters with some fantastic offence from Dirk Williams, Kevin Ware and Orlando Parker in particular, who ended with 37, 21 and 17 points respectively, which saw them go into the final quarter with a 77-74 lead.

The Giants fought hard to pull back the deficit and had their noses in front on a few occasions, including when Sam Cassell Jr. hit a three-pointer inside the final two minutes; but some late foul trouble and missed shots sadly took the game away from them after such a good start.

Offensively it was a great showing with four Giants players going into double figures in scoring – Breaon Brady with 22 (as well as six rebounds), Sam Cassell Jr. and Jordan Whelan with 20 each and Alex Ouandie providing a valuable bench contribution with 16.

As has been the case for much of the season though, the Giants were let down by their discipline, with Johnson fouling out late in the fourth quarter, and Brady and Ouandie both picking up four fouls each, including a few unnecessary technicals.

The defeat is the third in a row for the Giants in the league, with this being arguably the hardest given how quickly they started and how competitive they remained throughout. They face Plymouth on Sunday in the second game of this away double header, hoping to get themselves back on track.

‘’The first half was really good, we were sharing the ball, moving the ball, and getting open looks. Better still our defence was unbelievably aggressive.’’ Said Head Coach Danny Byrne

In other news, the Giants have a chance for some revenge on the Lions soon, as the two sides will face off in the BBL Cup Semi Finals in January, after the draw took place live on Sky Sports this evening.

Words – Jordan Morris

Photo – pmgimaging