Phoenix 78 - 74 Giants
The Manchester Giants fall to Cheshire Phoenix away from home. The Phoenix go up 2-1 on head to head matchup.
Giants past and present gathered for a North West Derby at Ellesmere Port Sports Village which saw the Manchester Giants go toe to toe with the Cheshire Phoenix.
William Lee kicks things off from the midrange. Lee’s attempt followed up a pair of Phoenix bricks. Tajh Green doubled the scoring in quick succession, converting from close range.
Things started to heat up after an early timeout call from Phoenix head coach Ben Thomas. Both teams trade basket for basket making it 16-9 in favour of Manchester at the mid way point of the first quarter. Cheshire started to find their footing in this fixture after taking their first lead of the game. Manchester's foes extended their lead by as much as 7. A difficult period for the Manchester giants as missed shots left them with a mountain to climb as the Phoenix stretched the lead to 12.
The Giants continued to turn up the pressure on the Phoenix, drawing the foul close to the basket and chipping away from the line 3 on 1 fast break saw Roberson, Fletcher and Lee plays hot potato with the ball which concluded in a behind the back bounce pass from Rahmon Fletcher straight into the path of William Lee for a 2 handed flush.
One shot ball game after a left handed finger roll from Rahmon Fletcher, trimmed the Phoenix lead to 2 and extended the giants unanswered scoring run. Quality on display from Vince Macaulay's men. Legend Robertin produced a thunderous block after Tahjai Teague tried a eurostep past the 7”1 big man. William Lee produced a three that was nothing but net at the other end. Callum Jones found Nick Lewis mid court who then lobbed it further to Tajh Green for an end of third quarter buzzer beater to take the giants to within 5 points.
Momentum swung like a pendulum throughout the fourth quarter, from one side to the next. A scrappy final stanza and very little from Manchester offensively with only 2 points in 6 minutes of the quarter. Vintage Fletcher was lightning quick on his handles and got the 2x BBL MVP a lane through the centre of the paint for a signature left handed finger roll which set things in motion for the giants offensively. Back to back to back triples from Dirk Williams shook the Cheshire Phoenix fan base to their cores.
Phoenix take the spoils by 4 points. Tajh Green once again had a quietly solid performance with another double double as he produced 18 points and 10 rebounds making him leader in both categories for Manchester.
Head Coach Vince Macaulay said: "That was a tough one tonight. We didn't shoot the ball very well. I felt a little rushed in our play offensively in the first half. That led to easy baskets for them hence they got 50 points in the first half. I think we held them to just 24 in the second half but we still couldn’t shoot the ball very well". "I think we ended up 22% From three. Then the foul trouble obviously with Dirk sitting on the bench in foul trouble. Rahmon Fletcher having a knock to his eye. We were a little bit discombobulated out there. I thought when we started to get it together towards the end there just wasn't enough time".