Giants 110 - 99 Flyers
The National Basketball Performance Centre played host to Wednesday-night BBL action as the Bristol Flyers made their way up the M5 and M6 to face a Manchester Giants side looking to bounce back following back-to-back losses against Caledonia and London.
Going into the game, the Giants found themselves in fifth place in the BBL Championship, level on points with the Gladiators - meanwhile the Flyers were flying, sat second in the table, exceeding all expectations.
The two teams faced one another just 10 days prior, as the Manchester ballclub emerged victorious on the road, and would be looking for a repeat result. With William Lee still absent with a groin injury, seven-footer Legend Robertin started at center in his place.
The first points of the game were scored by Dirk Williams, coming off a 27-point game, on the other end of the court, Robertin followed up with a monstrous block on Delpeche. Vincent King responded with a thunderous dunk to level the scores.
Manchester then went on a 5-0 run, forcing a timeout from Coach Kapoulas and the Flyers. Bristol responded with a 7-0 run of their own before Roberson levelled the scoring with his first two points of the game.
Green and Miller traded threes before a reverse lay-up from the rookie out of Benedict put the Giants back ahead. With two minutes left in the first quarter, Bristol took a nine-point lead, their biggest of the game to that point.
After ten minutes, the Giants were down by 6 points, with the deficit being cut down by back-to-back threes from Nick Lewis and Dirk Williams. Williams, alongside Tajh Green led the Giants scorers in Q1, both with seven points, while Mike Miller accounted for 10 of the visitors 28 points.
In the first quarter, the Giants out-rebounded the Flyers 16-10, a rare occurence for Manchester, however poor paint defense and discipline meant they were down 28-22.
As the second quarter began, the defenses managed to get loser as points flew in at both ends, as the score quickly jumped to 42-42, with Dirk Williams, Tajh Green & Nick Lewis all contributing.
As the buzzer sounds for half-time, the Giants led by one point. A key for Vince Macaulay's side in the first half was their rebounding, as they led the Flyers 29-16 at the half. Big starts from Tajh Green and Dirk Williams had helped the Giants re-capture the lead at half-time, as the two combined for 28 points. The Giants also boasted a respectable 37% from deep, scoring nine of their 24 attempts from three.
In the opening minutes of the second half, the Giants extended their lead to 59-53, with a Dirk Williams middy forcing Kapoulas to stop the rot with a timeout.
Defense was in short supply, as both teams scored at will, a strong point off the bench for the Giants was Nick Lewis who scored had a very efficient scoring display. He scored his 11th point of the night, pulling up from mid-range with a defender in his face, with five minutes to play in the third.
Dirk Williams had his defender dancing, receiving the ball on the fastbreak, pirouetting back to the three-point line before making him jump and draining the triple.
After three quarters, the Giants led the Flyers 83-73, as Fletcher scored his seventh and eighth points of the night, spinning past his man on an iso play, and getting to the basket to end the quarter. Williams and Green continued their shooting glut as the paired rattled off a further 16 points in the third, whilst as a team, the Giants extended their rebounding advantage to 12, and even more significantly, the Giants led the Flyers 13-4 in offensive rebounds.
More threes from Williams and Lewis extended the Giants lead to 11 with seven minutes to play. A tough contact lay-up for Anthony Roberson, who had put together another solid display at both ends, meant the Giants were up by 12 with under four minutes to play, as it looked as if Manchester would be picking up back-to-back W's against Bristol.
Tajh Green drilled his seventh triple of the game with two and a half on the clock, confirming a 30-pointer for the forward. Despite normally shooting just 28% from deep, Green had knocked down 70% of his attempts against the Flyers.
As the final buzzer sounded, the Manchester Giants emerged victorious, winning 110-99. A fantastic team performance, were they won the rebound battle and shot over 50% from three, was figure-headed by Dirk Williams and Tajh Green, who combined for 63 points, both shooting over 50% from deep.
Next up for Vince and co. is the Newcastle Eagles at home on Sunday, March 19th. They will look to build on what is one of their best performances of the season.