Ton-up London Lions slay Giants

PUBLISHED: 10:00 27 November 2016

Zaire Taylor attacks for London Lions (pic Graham Hodges)

Zaire Taylor attacks for London Lions (pic Graham Hodges)


London Lions 103 Manchester Giant 94

Rashad Hassan prepares to shoot for London Lions (pic Graham Hodges)Rashad Hassan prepares to shoot for London Lions (pic Graham Hodges)

A 53-point partnership between Rashad Hassan and Zaire Taylor saw the London Lions return to winning ways in style at the Copper Box Arena.

The Lions, who shot 58 per cent on the night, led from the start, with the level of teamwork being emphasised by the 27 assists, with Taylor responsible for 12 alone.

New signing Navid Niktash dramatically announced his arrival with two early shots from behind the arc and a slam dunk early in the second quarter which got the home fans stamping their feet.

It could have been far more for a Lions team that looked confident on both ends of the floor, save for periods of excellent play from the visiting Manchester Giants, who have added to their roster since being rolled over by the Lions on their own court earlier in the season.

Navid Niktash attacks for London Lions (pic Graham Hodges)Navid Niktash attacks for London Lions (pic Graham Hodges)

The Lions started strongly, building a seven-point lead with only five minutes gone as Taylor and Hassan frustrated the Giants defence with beautiful plays and stunning passing.

Kai Williams showed his ability to make shots from behind the arc and the Lions left the floor after the first quarter with an 11-point lead.

The Lions continued to frustrate the Giants throughout the second quarter, with Hassan having chalked up 20 individual points by the half-time break.

The home side’s strong defence - with some lovely blocks by Hassan - slowed down the scoring from the visitors, while at the other end of the floor the Lions remained on the prowl.

With a minute to go in the half, the Lions fans were back on their feet courtesy of a beautiful alley-oop from Hassan and by the midway mark their lead had grown to 14.

The Lions then appeared to take things too comfortably and Manchester effectively exploited this, occasionally sneaking through the home defence.

The visitor’s strength from behind the arc also showed and the Lions were forced to up the tempo.

The fourth quarter saw a resurgence from the visitors and for the first time in the game it appeared genuinely close.

But the first quarter had done the damage for the Giants and, despite winning the fourth quarter 25-19, they saw the Lions romp home to victory.

Lions now face a break in action before they return for a BBL Cup semi-final against Newcastle at the Copper Box on December 11.

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