After 13 straight victories, the London Lions suffered their first defeat of the season in a dramatical double overtime defeat against EuroCup rivals, Paris.
The visitors thought that they had the victory sealed at the end of the fourth quarter, but a Sam Dekker buzzer-beating-three-pointer took the game into overtime in theatrical fashion.
Both teams entered the game with a perfect record of 3-0 in this season’s EuroCup campaign, meaning something had to give at the Copper Box Arena. The hosts, however, had won every one of their 13 games heading into the game – giving them full confidence against their rivals.
In the first three minutes of the game, the Lions began with a 6-0 run as Sam Dekker began the night brightly on home court. Paris eventually found their feet, with the two teams tied at 19-19 after the first 10 minutes of action.
Nadir Hifi, Tyson Ward and TJ Shorts II went on to show their quality as Paris built a double digit in the second quarter. Matt Morgan and Donte Grantham then fought back for their side, but Paris eventually went into half-time leading by seven points.
The break seemed to do the Lions the world of good as they kicked off the third quarter with a huge 10-0 run. Matt Morgan, alongside Tarik Phillip, hit a range of huge three-pointers as the hosts caught fire from behind the arc. London won the 10-minute interval 25-8 – taking a 66-56 scoreline into a penultimate final quarter.
Although London had momentum and over 6000 fans behind them, Paris refused to be defeated. The French side were on a 21-7 run with less than four minutes left as the two sides went back and forth in a race to the finish line.
With 7.8 seconds left, TJ Shorts II had the chance to put the game away as the Parisians led by two points with a chance to double their lead with free throws. Shorts II, however, made just one of two from the line – leaving London with the final possession.
As the second quickly unwinded, the ball was in the capable hands of reigning BBL MVP – Sam Dekker. The ex-NBA talent went on to drain the game-tying bucket that then forced an extra five minutes of play in East London.
From here, the two sides continued to go toe-to-toe with nothing able to separate them yet again. In the final seconds of the first overtime, Shorts II had the chance to win the game in Dekker-esque fashion but missed the go-ahead bucket.
In the second period of overtime, Shorts II fouled out of the game early – leaving the Parisians with an even tougher task. The next five minutes remained nothing short of dramatical as the French side eventually edged over the line in an unforgettable battle in the English capital.
All eyes are now on Boxing Day, where the two sides will meet again – this time at the Halle Georges Carpentier.
Watch the highlights from London Lions vs Paris Basketball here.