Having won 3 out of 4 BBL championship games to start the season the Lions were in a good position heading into their cup game at home against Leeds Force.
The Force aren’t looking as strong as they would like this season and have already faced some tough losses.
The game started well for the Lions and honestly it never looked as though the Force had a chance. By the end of the first period the Lions were ahead 31-5. The Leeds team kept playing and managed to put some good runs in but for the most part they looked tired and frustrated.
The pace of the game occasionally seemed to cause problems for the Lions as well. Some fancy passing that didn’t reach the intended target suggested that trying to show off may be less useful that sticking to the basics and doing them well.
The Copper Box crowd was treated to a real show from the home team and we got to see minutes from Roberts and James.
In the end it was a convincing victory for the Lions (103-54) who will face Leicester in the next round.
On Saturday 12 November the London Lions and a somewhat vocal group of fans travelled north to Leicester for the quarter final of the BBL cup, knowing that the winning team would go on to face Newcastle in the semi finals.
The Lions looked the stronger team for most of the game, extending a 12 point lead at the end of q1 to a 16 point lead during a run early in q2 that prevented the Riders from scoring.
The Lions fans were loud and proud and on many occasions seemed to be out chanting the home fans. The commentator was doing his best to encourage the home fans, clearly realising the value of the fan support.
At the end of the half the Lions had a 13 point lead and both teams had a few too many fouls, including a Technical on the Riders coach.
The third quarter was a strange affair. It took almost four minutes for the score to change. The pace picked up a little from there and ended Riders 46 – Lions 57.
As the final quarter started the Riders were keen not to lose on their home court and were able to bring the score a bit closer. The Lions called a well timed time out and were able to stretch the lead a little again.
This prompted a Riders timeout at a point when Sullivan had received a Technical and the Riders coach looked close to getting his second as a result of his protests.
The Riders were then able to get the score within 7 but the Lions kept the pressure on and were able to win the game Riders 67 Lions 76.
Both teams had reason to take issue with referee calls on the night but the refs decisions were not the reason for the result.
Lions will next take on Newcastle Eagles in the league on Sunday 13 November and of course will face Newcastle in the Cup (date tbc).
Cheshire Phoenix v London Lions 31/01/2016
The Lions had a three week gap between games in January, so I was a little nervous before the away game in Cheshire.
I shouldn’t have been so worried. Both teams played with a lot of energy to start the game. The Lions were able to take the lead through some good shots and some great steals by Nick Lewis.
Though the score at the end of quarter 1 was fairly close (Cheshire Phoenix 20 London Lions 24), it didn’t really reflect the whole quarter as the Lions had managed to take a bigger lead at points.
The tempo of the second quarter was a bit slower. This benefitted Cheshire who were able to keep the score close; the teams scored the same number of points in this quarter (14). The Lions energy seemed to fade in the last few minutes of the half and turnovers were definitely a problem. A buzzer beater three by Owumi ended the half Cheshire Phoenix 35 London Lions 39.
Whatever the coaches said to the team during the break clearly worked as the Lions came out to a great start. 2 points followed by a rejection 3 times in a row. 3 missed 3 point attempts in a row from Cheshire helped the Lions take a 14 point lead. A sloppy turnover by the Lions followed by a foul helped give Cheshire some momentum and the quarter ended Cheshire Phoenix 56 London Lions 63.
Quarter 4 started energetically though it was mainly demonstrated by turnovers and missed shots. Cheshire managed to keep the final quarter pretty close, but the Lions managed to stay ahead. In the final minute of the game Cheshire decided to play for fouls. Unfortunately they were only on 2 fouls when they made this decision, leading to 3 fouls in quick succession. The game finished Cheshire Phoenix 70 London Lions 76.
This was a good game from the Lions, the team were playing well together and were demonstrating good hustle. The three week break was obviously good for them.
One downside of the trip to Cheshire was the vuvuzelas. I have no idea why they felt the need to sell them but the travelling Lions fans all left the game with sore heads.
November 28 2015 – Surrey Sports Park
Tonight the London Lions travelled to their nearest rivals the Surrey Scorchers. Going in to the game Scorchers were 9th in the league, Lions were 5th.
The game did not get off to a great start with both teams committing turnovers. Lions finally broke the 0-0 deadlock.
For most of this game the Lions looked comfortable, and were in the lead. Scorchers had some brilliant plays, including some tricky passes, but frustration seemed to be getting the better of them. Scorchers were called for two unsportsmanlike fouls and one technical, in three separate incidents. It’s rare for one team to get three such fouls in one game. They will need to work on keeping their frustration in check as they can ill afford to give away free throws.
The Lions also had an issue with fouls this evening, though only common fouls. Allie Fullah fouled out in the fourth.
The Lions won every quarter, although Surrey did keep trying right up until the final possession.
The win tonight takes the Lions into the top 4 of the BBL league.