BBL Play-offs, Quarter-Final, First Leg
Manchester Giants 91-79 Bristol Flyers (26-21, 54-41, 75-61)
(Giants – McKnight 22, Armstrong 15, Ulph 14; Flyers – Jacob 20, Simmons 20, Rogers 10)
It’s advantage Manchester Giants as the 2022 BBL Play-offs began at the National Basketball Performance Centre on Thursday night, with Giants taking a 91-79 lead over Bristol Flyers after the quarter-final first leg as Martaveous McKnight scored 22 points.
On paper the closest tie, with the fifth-placed Giants hosting the fourth-placed Flyers, the teams traded big runs early in the game as Giants started 14-2 when Geno Artison scored five early points and spectacularly blocked an alley-oop attempt; before Flyers responded with a 14-4 push of their own, getting back within one at 21-20 as Josh Rogers hit a pair of three-pointers.
But the visitors could never get in front as Giants led from tip-to-buzzer, Tyrik Armstrong hitting a three-pointer just before the end of the first, and Will Saunders opened the second stanza in kind in what became a 12-1 run over the quarter break, five different players scoring for Giants to make it a double-figure lead at 33-21.
And that’s where it stayed, after Artison opened the second half with a triple and an ‘and-one’ play consecutively to see the lead peak at 60-41, and Giants looked to hold the margin.
Flyers, however, fought back to get within striking distance for Saturday’s second leg in Bristol, hitting a 10-2 run inside the final three minutes to get back to 89-79 and give themselves a shot against a side that they beat twice by a greater margin than that in the regular season.
McKnight led all scorers and added five rebounds, four assists and four steals, while Armstrong had a double-double of 15 points and 13 assists, and David Ulph missed just once for 14 points and seven rebounds off the bench.