- National Teams
London Lions completed a domestic treble in the BBL as they claimed the playoffs title for the first time with an 88-80 triumph over Leicester Riders at The O2 Arena, on Sunday.
Ryan Schmidt’s side overcame the six-time playoffs winners despite being without season MVP Sam Dekker as the Lions added to their Cup and Championship titles.
Jordan Taylor top scored in the win with 15 points along with seven assists, while Miye Oni added 14 points, 10 rebounds and five assists with Aaron Best also adding 15 points.
The Riders edged ahead in the early proceedings with Darien Nelson-Henry’s fifth points putting them up 12-11 at the midpoint. GB’s Tarik Phillip made an immediate impact off the bench with five points in an 8-0 run before adding a second triple to make it 22-14 after 10 minutes.
Leicester started the second with five quick points before London restored control with a 10-2 burst capped by another dunk from Oni. The gap was as large as 14 with 4:38 left to play in the half, but Kimbal Mackenzie gave his side some momentum to take into the break as they trailed 44-36.
Taylor hit a three to push London back in the ascendancy and the lead hit as many as 16 points during the third with London taking a 69-55 lead into the final quarter.
Leicester pushed again as they did in the fourth quarter of the Cup final before Oni hit another three to put the Lions up 11 with five minutes remaining.
Then the Riders made a stronger move. 80-69 became 82-75 and then 83-78 when Mackenzie hit a triple. Marc Loving almost added another but his effort went in-and-out and the Lions were able to clinch the game from the foul line.
– Lions starters: Taylor, Best, Hruban, Oni, Zubcic
– Riders starters: Love, Whelan, Jackson, Loving, Nelson-Henry
– Riders defeated Lions 78-75 in the 2022 playoffs final
– Lions had lost their four previous playoffs finals