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Ali delivers knockout blow to London Lions

PUBLISHED: 19:31 28 January 2017 | UPDATED: 19:31 28 January 2017

London Lions' Zaire Taylor is left grounded during his side's loss to Bristol at the Copper Box Arena (pic Graham Hodges)

London Lions' Zaire Taylor is left grounded during his side's loss to Bristol at the Copper Box Arena (pic Graham Hodges)

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London Lions 66 Bristol Flyers 98

London Lions' Kevin Moyo is crowded out by Bristol rivals (pic Graham Hodges)London Lions' Kevin Moyo is crowded out by Bristol rivals (pic Graham Hodges)

London Lions were on the receiving end of their second 20-plus point defeat in five days at the Copper Box Arena on Friday night.

Having lost 100-71 to Worcester Wolves last weekend, their latest reverse came at the hands of lowly Bristol, who have only beaten the Lions once before, yet hammered Nigel Lloyd’s men in another dismal game that saw long stretches of scoreless play from the home team.

Again it all started so well for the Lions as Bristol struggled to contain them in the first quarter, only catching up when the Lions turned the ball over - something that they were doing far too often.

By the end of the first, Bristol hadn’t managed to take the lead with the Lions up 25-20, but in truth it ought to have been more. Bristol were also ruing some appalling air balls that gave the home side false confidence.

Andre Lockhart looks for a way through for London Lions against Bristol at the Copper Box Arena (pic Graham Hodges)Andre Lockhart looks for a way through for London Lions against Bristol at the Copper Box Arena (pic Graham Hodges)

Having gone five minutes without scoring against Worcester, history repeated itself on Friday night as Lions were held scoreless for seven minutes – more than two thirds of the second quarter – as Bristol tallied 16 points.

Rashad Hassan’s lay-up with eight seconds left in the half wasn’t enough to spare the Lions blushes and they went into the break 45-31 down, having converted a woeful 37 per cent of their attempts and scored just six points.

Things were about to get much worse for the Lions, though, in the third quarter, as Bristol found their form and point guard Hareem Ali turned on a three-point master class.

Bristol had gone into the half having made six of their 12 three-point attempts, with Ali hitting five of his own in the first five minutes of the second quarter.

London Lions' Rashad Hassan in action against Bristol (pic Graham Hodges)London Lions' Rashad Hassan in action against Bristol (pic Graham Hodges)

The Lions fans could only watch in wonder as Ali seemed to be able to score at will from around the court. By the time Bristol had scored their ninth three-point shot of the quarter, the Lions had managed only 12 points in reply.

But with Bristol 40 points ahead, the Lions staged a small comeback to win the final quarter by a 23-15 margin, although it was a case of much too little and much too late.

The Lions – who have wins at Newcastle and Leicester under their belts this season – will be scratching their heads to understand how things have gone so wrong so quickly, but there will be no time to recover as they make the long trip to Glasgow on Sunday, before heading to Plymouth on February 5.


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