The London Lightning managed to get their revenge on a Windsor Express team that handed the black and yellow their latest loss of the season, on Dec. 30, but revenge might be using the world loosely. Mild redemption might be more appropriate.
The Lightning picked a 101-96 win at Budweiser Gardens on Sunday (Jan. 13) in a fourth quarter that saw four lead changes and a final 30 seconds filled with more action than Jean-Claude Van Damme flick — two backcourt violations split between the teams, a technical foul from London’s DeAnthony Bowden and a final block from Jermaine Blackburn on a shot that could have tied the game.
The victory over the Central Conference’s third place team wraps up a flawless long few days at home for London after squeaking by the Oshawa Power 115-109 on Saturday (Jan. 12) and beating the Moncton Miracles 115-93 on Thursday (Jan. 10). While London played three games in four days, Windsor hadn’t stepped on the court in eight days.
The Lightning aren’t destroying teams by 48-points anymore — a National Basketball League of Canada score margin record when London smashed the Montreal Jazz 134-86 on Nov. 17 — but they’re still winning, which is the only stat that really matters.
It seems as if the new and improved 2012-13 Lightning squad local fans have grown accustomed to are starting to become the magnified and “make sure you’re prepared” for the rest of the NBL-C clubs.
At the start of the season in November London destroyed their opponents by a whopping average spread of 25.9 points. In December the margin slightly shrunk to 21.5 and so far in the new year the Lightning are winning by an average of 10.5 in six games.
That’s not to say other NBL-C teams have cracked the Micheal Ray Richardson code, which is a squad with so much unpredictability in how they play, but somehow have so much consistency on both sides of the ball.
The Lightning head coach’s squad still leads in almost every statistical category from offensive and defensive scoring to assists and steals per game.
“I don’t feel like (our opponents) have figured us out and I wouldn’t say we’re tired, it’s just that we’re going to get everybody’s best shot every night because we’re in first, because we won the title last year,” Bowden said. “The only thing that matters to us is the win. I don’t care if it’s by one point, two points or 20, as long as we get the W.”
The most inconsistent thing about the team is maybe how they score.
Bowden, Adrian Moss and Rodney Buford shoot around the perimeter at times like it’s a three-point contest. Jermaine Blackburn and Tim Ellis can get ready to throw up a jumper anywhere inside the three-point line. Jeremy Williams, Marvin Phillips and DeAndre Thomas cleanup under the net and it seems Elvin Mims can score from just about anywhere on the court.
“We have a lot of talented basketball players and it can be anyone’s night at any given moment,” Bowden said. “That’s the key to our team, just trying to stay unselfish and play.”
London now gets a break before playing the Montreal Jazz on Sunday (Jan. 20) at Budweiser Gardens. That will be the last home game for the Lightning for the 21 days after as they prepare for five matchups on the road with four of those played against Eastern Conference teams.