In-form London Lions will be looking to feel the Force after slaying Giants on road
PUBLISHED: 08:19 28 March 2018 | UPDATED: 08:19 28 March 2018
London Lions will look to make it three BBL wins in a row when they welcome Leeds Force to the Copper Box Arena on Thursday, writes Darren Paul.
Lions followed their home win over Surrey Scorchers with an 82-66 success at Manchester Giants on Sunday.
They were led past their hosts by Cory Dixon’s 23 points and 11 rebounds and yet another double-double from Brandon Peel, who finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Lions flexed their muscle in the paint, scoring more than half of their points inside, with the guard trio of Dixon, Peel and Thompson all performing well.
Manchester welcomed back Jerelle Okoro who joined the Lions early this month having left the Giants just weeks earlier and the Londoner took no prisoners against the side he spent three years with.
Okoro finished with nine points including the basket of the game after a neat interchange with fellow newboy Jon Thompson.
The lead went back and forth between the sides in the opening minutes, but the Lions were quick to build a 10-point lead late in the first quarter that would never be meaningfully challenged.
Andre Lockhart saw significant minutes in the absence of Justin Robinson and put in a characteristically solid performance, giving his side the lead midway through the first thanks to a three-pointer after a sloppy period of play from both sides.
Lions started the second quarter in good form with a 9-0 run, including a corner three from Peel as the big man looks to increase his range heading into the business end of the season.
The run was snapped by back-to-back threes from Austin Rettig, but any attempt at a comeback was thwarted by another Lockhart triple as Lions went into the break up by 16 points.
Giants attempted a fightback to start the second half as they kept the Lions scoreless for the opening three and a half minutes and put up eight points to halve the advantage.
But Peel was on hand to end the skid and within minutes the Lions had restored their 16-point cushion.
The result was never in doubt as Vince McCauley’s men closed out victory and moved up to sixth with a 14-9 record, with games in hand, as they look to push for a top-four finish.