London Lions 93 Manchester Giants 108: Coach Macaulay rues lack of effort
21:02 09 March 2014
London Lions head coach Vince Macaulay was at a loss to understand why his side were so lacklustre as they shipped 100 points for the first time this term in a heavy defeat at home to Manchester Giants.
It was a further blow to their British Basketball League top four hopes but the meek nature of the capital club’s capitulation will be a conundrum their boss must solve in the fortnight’s break before an away day to second-placed Newcastle Eagles.
A breathless and high-scoring first period saw Manchester plunder 33 points to London’s 21 with Giant David Aliu firing 15 of his 25 points.
And that was as good as it got as the visitors opened up a 20-point lead midway through the second stanza - a deficit that the Lions never looked capable of making a dent in.
London were second best in virtually all areas as the Giants kept them comfortably at arm’s length, even when they put together 18 points from outside the arc in the third session.
To their credit, Manchester were sharp in their offensive play and deadly accurate from all areas, with Dave Watts scoring 20 and James Jones putting on 14.
Towering Lions centre Kramer Knutson played little part after twisting his ankle in practice on Thursday but across the team, the hosts’ trademark defensive intensity deserted them and Macaulay admitted: “I don’t understand the reason for that.
“We clearly missed Kramer from a rebounding standpoint, but even so, we had more than enough to get the job done and I’m just disappointed with the effort.
“We just have to fix it, there’s no other way of saying it.”
The fifth-placed Lions are four points off the top four - but have played two more games than Leicester Riders - and they hold the same advantage over Cheshire Phoenix below them.
A place in the play-offs looks assured but Macaulay admitted: “At the moment we’re in a funny position [in the league] and the guys are thinking, ‘how much further can we get?’
“We’ve got teams chasing us from behind like Cheshire and Glasgow and we should be playing good basketball, getting ready for the play-offs.
“I’m disappointed that we haven’t been able to refocus and that’s what I’ll be focusing on in the next fortnight [before the trip to Newcastle].
“We had a bad [home] loss against Leicester and we wanted to make sure that this place [the Copper Box] was a difficult place to get wins and they haven’t taken that on board.”
Former Giants forward Juluis Joseph added: “Today is probably one of our worst performances of the season.
“Hopefully we can learn from it. We’ve got to accept the negative points but you’ve got to be positive as a player, as a team and as an organisation and realise what’s going wrong. We’ve just got to turn it around.
“It was really frustrating because we knew we had more to offer but we just couldn’t deliver it.
“We scored well, we just didn’t play well enough defensively.”