BBL play-off final: Leicester Riders beat London Lions to claim treble

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Five great plays as Leicester Riders win BBL Play-offs

Champions Leicester Riders completed a season treble of BBL titles as they beat London Lions 81-60 to win the Play-off final at London’s O2 Arena.

Pierre Hampton scored 19 points for Leicester, while Tyler Bernardini and JR Holder added 17 points each.

Brandon Peel (22) and GB international Paul Guede (10) were London’s main men.

BBL play-off final: Leicester Riders beat London Lions to claim treble
BBL play-off final: Leicester Riders beat London Lions to claim treble

The Lions stayed in touch for most of the first half but struggled to stop the Riders, failing to hit a single long-range shot in the second half.

Lions had the better of a tense, tight first quarter when both teams could manage only three field goals each, leading 14-12.

But Leicester seized the initiative with some strong finishing as they took the second quarter 27-14.

Pierre Hampton inspired an early 10-0 run and, although Guede hit two threes in reply for London, Leicester had another 8-0 run before half-time, inspired by the final’s most valuable player TrayVonn Wright, to lead 39-28 at the interval.

The Riders edged a messy third quarter 19-15, during which London lost back-up centre Dzaflo Larkai in a scuffle with Shane Walker. That had little impact on the result, however.

Guede’s second-quarter threes proved to be the only ones the Lions hit in the entire game, their shooting deserting them as it had in the tied semi-final first leg against Glasgow a fortnight previously.

This time they did not escape and only a short scoring burst in the last two minutes of the game prevented them setting a new lowest score in the 31 years of BBL Play-off finals.

Leicester v London: The stats

  • This was Leicester’s eighth BBL trophy – out of a possible 12 – in the past three years.
  • Lions, runners-up in the BBL this season behind Leicester, have still lost only six of their 24 games since owner Vince Macauley replaced Mariusz Karol as coach in early January.
  • Riders coach Rob Paternostro’s team have already equalled the record of Kingston (1990-92) and Newcastle (2008-10) as league winners three years in a row.
  • The Lions’ only title remains their Cup win in 2008, when they were the Milton Keynes Lions.
  • Since moving to the Copper Box in 2013, London have now lost two Play-off finals, having also been beaten by Newcastle in 2015.

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