The Flyers soar past lame Lions on Friday night in the capital.
The London Lions were left stunned on their home floor as the Bristol Flyers put in a remarkable team performance in securing only their second ever victory over the Capital’s team.
The hosts had started the game well taking an early lead with a strong start from the starting five. However, as the first period went on the Flyers began to click into gear with a mixture of strong post play and accurate shooting from the perimeter. The first half was a back and forth affair with few truly notable plays, aside from a neat dunk from Lions Power Forward Navid Niktash who hung on the rim for what seemed like an eternity. It would prove to be the highlight of the night for the Lions who lost a little focus just as the Flyers began to get in their stride.
After a few wayward passes in the opening half, the Flyers started making their behind the head passes on the perimeter, their bounce passes off interceptions and started draining the long ball. As the offense snapped into gear lead by captain Greg Streete, with the shooting of Hameed Ali and Aaron Crosby, Bristol’s defense limited the Lions to poor looks from outside and frustrating point guard Zaire Taylor into loose passes and low percentage shots. Whilst defending the post the Flyers dominated, blocking shots, earning steals and grabbing defensive boards like their careers depended on it.
The third period is where the Flyers took over. The Lions had started well, but it was the duo of Ali and Crosby who effectively ended the contest. The pair draining a seemingly endless stream of 3 point shots including a run of at least 6 triples in a row. The Flyers had the hot hand and they knew it. Ali was encouraged to shoot at every opportunity from increasingly tight angles, but the shots kept dropping. With each 3 the Flyers bench exploded waving towels like a squad of Bob Sacres, as the Lions squad shrank a little more. It seemed that everything the Lions tried it missed whereas the Flyers could do no wrong.
The Lions gave the scoreline some respectability in the final period as the Flyers sent out bench players. Whilst the visiting fans howled for a “tonne”, the Lions roared back to ensure they beat their lowest ever scoreline. Despite the resurgent run in the 4th, the game was a long way beyond the home team, and the final buzzer was a relief for their players and fans alike.
The simple truth is that the 8-2 Lions had an off day, a really bad off day, but ultimately, just an off day. They have a good but lean roster. Niktash and Williams are capable of being excellent scorers but combined for less than 20 points, Hassan had a dominant game patrolling the paint and the backcourt of Taylor and Owumi should be producing better than they did on Friday night.
As for the Flyers, who move to 4-11, they were untouchable. Everything they tried seemingly came off for them, standout performances from top scorer Aaron Crosby, Hameed Ali, Greg Streete and Brandon Boggs set them up for an incredible win. They will hope for this famous victory to propel them to more league victories and perhaps BBL Trophy success.
Basketball is a fantastic sport, and exciting matches like this will help its audience grow in the UK. The Flyers picked the perfect night in London to explode like this, in front of the BBC cameras on National (connected) TVs and online. The Flyers will have certainly gained some admirers for the way they attacked relentlessly, shot the ball and hustled on defencse. As for the Lions, they will go away and lick their wounds before heading up to Glasgow to take on the Rock on Sunday, a game that if they win would send a message to their nearest rivals that Friday was merely a blip.