Lightning Strike In Clash of Champions
October 29, 2017
The London Lightning had succeeded in overcoming every challenge the NBLC could throw at them during the 2016-17 campaign, ending their year with a third championship banner to raise to the Budweiser Gardens rafters. On Saturday night, the Lightning faced one more challenge, this time from the NBA G-League’s reigning champions, the Raptors 905. For London, the results were more of the same, as the Lightning managed to topple the 905 in a hard fought 99-92 victory.
With both London and the 905 still in the middle of their training camps, the first half was marked by a feeling out process of sorts, as players from both teams adjusted to their first competitive action of the season. The 905 benefitted from G-League veterans like Lorenzo Brown and Edy Tavares, who provided a steadying presence while leading the 905 to an early first quarter lead.
Things began to swing in London’s favour during the second, punctuated by an explosive dunk by Royce White. That dunk sparked the Lightning, and gave them the confidence moving forward that they could hang with the G-League champs. At the half, the Lightning went to the dressing room with a slim 50-48 lead.
The third quarter was a coming out party for Ryan Anderson. The NBLC veteran made it rain three point shots, while White provided an interior presence that was difficult to handle. The 905 still wouldn’t budge an inch, and the teams headed into the decisive fourth quarter, tied 75-75.
The chemistry London had between their returning players shined in the final quarter, as strong team defence from returnees like Anderson, White, Joel Friesen and Marcus Capers helped London hold the 905 to only 17 points in the fourth. When the buzzer sounded, London came away with the 99-92 win.
Anderson led the way for London with 28 points, shooting a blistering 50% from beyond the arc. White also chipped in a double double with 14 points and 10 assists. Newcomer Yohanny Dalembert nearly did the same, with 9 points and 11 rebounds.
The 905 were led by Lorenzo Brown and rookie Kennedy Meeks, who each notched 12 points. Edy Tavares was monstrous in the paint, with 4 blocks. NBLC veteran Richard Amardi added 9 points and 6 rebounds for his new team.
The NBL Canada will kick off its seventh season on November 18th, with the Windsor Express visiting the KW Titans in Kitchener, the Lightning visiting the Niagara River Lions, and the expansion St. John’s Edge making their debut in Charlottetown against the Island Storm.