BBL: Leeds Force 44 London Lions 128
PUBLISHED: 07:12 14 April 2018 | UPDATED: 07:12 14 April 2018
London Lions recorded their highest-ever winning margin over Leeds Force on Friday defeating them by 84 points in the BBL Championship at the Carnegie Sports Centre.
Lions headed to Leeds on a fantastic run of form, unbeaten in the Championship in their last seven fixtures including statement wins over the newly-crowned champions Leicester Riders and top-two hopefuls Newcastle Eagles.
Leeds Force, meanwhile, have one win all season and have yet to record a victory in 2018.
Lions began the game with their five strongest starters, led by MVP candidate Justin Robinson, who celebrated signing a new contract with the Lions by scoring 12 points, grabbing eight rebounds and dishing seven assists in the win.
And the visitors set the tone from the outset, the same way they have all month, as if every game they play is their biggest game of the season as they chase the second seed in the play-offs.
Lions got out to an 11-point lead midway through the first period as the starters shared the scoring.
Head coach Vince Macaulay made full use of his bench as his side host playoff-bound Worcester Wolves on Sunday and travel to the champions next Friday.
But despite the changes in personnel, Lions made easy work on the Force who were held to their lowest score of the season.
Lions finished the first quarter with a 21-12 advantage but would move up a gear in the second quarter scoring 36 points conceding just 13 to lead it 57-25 at half-time.
Lions topped the third quarter in similar form, keeping Leeds to single digits in a strong defensive stand whilst scoring another 33 points, with André Lockhart and Dzaflo Larkai making an impact on the game to put it out of sight of Leeds early, extending the lead to 40 points early in the quarter.
The visitors kept pushing their winning margin in the final quarter, putting in a professional performance but clearly enjoying their basketball with some flashy finishing and full-court passes.
The most remarkable moment of the game, however, came at the final buzzer.
With Force trailing by 81, Leeds regained possession and with seven seconds remaining in the game Mo Williams, contrary to traditional basketball etiquette, went for a lay-up which he missed.
Lamar Roberts gathered the rebound and just before the buzzer sounded Jerelle Okoro launched a full-court shot which incredibly went in to cap off the 84-point victory, the Lions’ largest-ever winning margin against Leeds.
Lions gave good minutes to all 11 players, with eight of the side in double digits in scoring, with Brandon Peel, Cory Dixon and Jon Thompson the game’s top scorers with 17 points each.
Despite the glut of points, only one Lion recorded a double-double, with Dzaflo Larkai bagging 16 points and 11 rebounds in his 16 minutes of play.
Lions are back in action on Sunday at 4pm, hosting playoff-bound Worcester Wolves at the Copper Box Arena.