London ball

OT thriller puts London Lightning one win away from another league title

Content of the article

The London Lightning are just one win away from their fifth National Basketball League of Canada title.

Content of the article

They had to work overtime and win in an instant classic to earn this position.

Jermaine Haley buried the first two buckets of the five-minute overtime session, then guards Chris Jones and Jordan Burns locked it down with six steel-eyed straight free throws to sink the KW Titans 115-110 in Game 2 best-of-five finals on Sunday at Budweiser Gardens.

The tough win marked London’s 10th consecutive win (fifth in the playoffs) as the Lightning improved to 16-0 on home ground. The Titans posed the biggest threat yet to the Bolts’ dominance at Bud.

First place London gets its first chance to wrap up the league crown on Wednesday in Kitchener. They went 2-1 at Memorial Auditorium during the regular season.

Content of the article

FRENCH FINISH: The teams traded buckets in a sensational finale of a few regulation streaks. Titans star Joel Kindred showed why he’s NBL Canada’s best player by stealing the ball from Jordan Burns and ducking it for a one-point KW lead with just two minutes left. Burns responded with a three-point clutch. Kindred equalized, Terry Thomas converted a lay-up for the tee box before Kindred tied it again with 19 seconds left. Chris Jones missed a three-ball to win it before the buzzer, but the Lightning took the lead again early in overtime and edged KW 12-7 when it mattered most.

BEST DOGS: Kindred scored 28 points on Sunday, nearly matching Chris Jones’ 39 in London’s resounding Game 1 victory. He was 12 for 20 from the field, hit four threes and had three interceptions in 45 minutes for an understaffed Titans team. He looked like a deserving MVP. Terry Thomas, the league’s top Canadian, beat London with 28 points and 10 boards in 51 minutes. Haley had 21 points, hitting in crucial moments, and Chris Jones had 17 points and 10 assists. KW’s Jesse Jones had 25 points and 12 rebounds.

Content of the article

FINE OF PINE: Cameron Forte only played 22 minutes, but still enjoyed it with 16 points and 11 rebounds. He was shooting 8 out of 13. Basically, he gave London another hallmark performance. Without an injured Chad Frazier, KW’s secondary goalscoring options are more limited, but Jabari Craig has fired 16 goals for the visitors in 20 minutes.

SWEET-O STAT: Championship teams do it in those tough times at the free throw line. London went 15 for 20 and were particularly good in lockdown time, going 8 from 10 in extra time. The Titans were 5 of 9 in overtime and that made a difference. KW, however, was 20-for-28 from the charity strip, so it’s not like the whistles were going mostly in favor of the Lightning. Those free buckets were significant because neither team knocked down a three-ball after regulation. Combined, they were 0 for 5.

THIRD WORD: The Lightning thought they had dusted off their bad third quarter trend, but it resurfaced and almost cost them everything. Leading eight at halftime, London were outclassed by 11 (36-25) just after the break. The Titans shot 14 of 23, including five on three, for a 60.9 shooting percentage and the home side went a lousy 10 for 27 (37%). But like most of the year, they had the depth to do so at their fingertips.

NEXT : The Bolts will look to wrap up with Game 3 Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Kitchener Memorial Auditorium.