Paul James and Plymouth Patriots make it honours even as the Manchester Giants fall 103-96. 

Three weeks of no BBL basketball for the Giants who were itching to get competing once again to assert themselves as a dominant force in the league. Standing in their way was Paul James’ and the Patriots. A game that proved to be a classic after last season.

Despite a little slip, Anthony Roberson slashes to the basket to draw first blood against Plymouth, Rashad Hassan replies on the home team’s opening possession. Opening minutes showed two different offensive schemes from both teams, Manchester drilled 3/3 from beyond the arc which initiated a fast paced spell of end to end offensive play from both teams going like for like in scoring. Once play calmed down, the giant’s high volume scoring saw them ahead by 3 with most of the first quarter to play. The opening quarter was not one for the appreciators of defence as both teams scored 30 in the opening quarter. The opening interval concluded all even.

Both teams continued to go score for score into the second quarter as Rahmon Fletcher produced back to back close makes to take him to 15 points in 12 minutes of play. Patriots began to pull away at the Pavilions, a 6 point gap materialised halfway through the quarter with the Giants starting to struggle around the rim. During the latter stages of the quarter, Manchester began clicking from close, producing high percentage looks coupled with trips to the line turned a 9 point lead to a single possession lead. A pair of Rahmon Fletcher free throws tied up the game at 53-53 with 35.6 seconds left in the quarter. Rashad Hassan makes from close with 12 seconds left and puts the patriots noses in front as both teams head into the locker rooms.

Both teams came back out with intensity in the 3rd quarter, both teams traded buckets in the opening 2 minutes. The patriots extended their lead to 5 points early on, only to be thwarted by Corey Johnson and later Dirk Williams, both guards kept the single within a single possession. The Patriots took the first double digit lead of the evening late in the third quarter. A lead that only continued to grow as the Giants trailed by 14 heading into the final quarter.

Despite all things looking doom and gloom heading into the quarter, the Giants showed a fantastic fighting spirit in Plymouth chipping away at the lead possession after possession to reduce a double digit lead back down to a single possession lead with 3 minutes left. The Plymouth Pavillions left stunned at what they thought was a secured win now on the edge of their seats as the game slowly fell from their grasp. A midrange from Plymouth, the final few words in the book that wrote out a patriots win.

Rahmon Fletcher led by example in this matchday, 26 points and 12 assists for captain fantastic who was closely followed by Tajh Green, the highflying rookie put up a double double of his own as he posted 14 points and 10 rebounds. Dirk Williams and Anthony Roberson also finished in double digit scoring, the former with 16 and the latter with 12. Roberson was the third giant to post a double double as he also finished with 10 rebounds and was solid all along the defensive side of the ball with a pair of steals and a pair of blocks to his name.

Head Coach Vince Macaulay said: “I thought Plymouth played hard and aggressive and it wasn’t till the second half that we matched that. We did well to put ourselves ima winnable position but they made two tough buckets. The break hasn’t been kind, but it is what it is and it’s up to us to maximise and be ready when the ball goes up”.

The Manchester Giants take a break from BBL Championship basketball on November 26th and instead kick off their BBL Cup campaign. The Bristol Flyers are the teams first round matchup with the game scheduled to tip off at 7:30PM. It will also be available to stream live on BBL Player.