LONDON, Ont. — The London Lightning are proving once again why they are the best team in the NBL Canada.
Last season, they won their third league title in convincing fashion. They had a talented roster that was led by Royce White, Garrett Williamson, Ryan Anderson, and others. In the off-season, head coach Kyle Julius took a job overseas, and several key players went different routes. It left more questions than answers coming into this season.
Just when it looked as though they couldn’t get any better, they somehow did.
One could make the case that this year’s edition of the team has more talent and offensive weapons than the team that won it all a season ago. They are getting scoring from everyone on the roster, and they aren’t even at full health. Marcus Capers and Kyle Johnson are both nursing injuries, but are due back in the near future.
The balanced attack has propelled the Lightning on a 10-game winning streak, and to the top of the league standings after a 2-5 start to the season. Here are five figures from the Lightning’s current streak that stand out among the rest.
Three – Number of Overtime Games
The Lightning have taken part in three overtime games during their current streak, and all have come over their last five games. Two of them have been at home, while one came on the road against the Niagara River Lions to kick off the 2018 calendar year.
Last time out, against the visiting Moncton Magic on January 13th, the Lightning needed double overtime to pick up the 147-146 victory.
Five – Number of Different Teams They’ve Beaten on the Streak
In the 10-team league, you’re going to play the same teams on a regular basis. With only four teams in Ontario, that level of frequency increases. London has taken down five different teams over their current 10-game streak. Here’s a breakdown of the teams they have played, with the number of wins over them during the streak in parentheses:
St. John’s (1)
21 – New NBL Canada Single-Game Assists Record
In the double overtime win for the Lightning against the Magic, guard Doug Herring Jr. broke the league record for assists in a game. The former Utica College guard dished out 21 assists, while also adding 12 points.
The 293 combined points also broke the league record for most points scored in a game by two teams.
Four – Double Doubles from Royce White
Forward Royce White missed the first two games of the winning streak, but he has been a catalyst on both ends of the floor for the Lightning during the eight games that he has played. Over that stretch, he has recorded four double-double performances, two with assists and two with rebounds.
12/26/17: 28 points, 13 rebounds @ Kitchener-Waterloo (104-92 W)
12/29/17: 25 points, 11 assists v. Windsor (129-106 W)
1/7/18: 29 points, 12 assists v. Niagara (143-132 W)
1/13/18: 46 points, 14 rebounds v. Moncton (147-146 W)
124.3 – Average Points Per Game for London
The Lightning have scored at least 104 points in all 10 of their wins on their current streak, and are averaging more than 124 points per outing. They have topped the 120 points on five occasions, and have gone over 140 points twice, with one of those games being the double overtime thriller against Moncton.
Their offense is clicking on all cylinders, and even with their sub-par defense, they are able to outscore their opponents and keep the streak alive.
London will go for their 11th straight win on January 17th at home against the St. John’s Edge, the team they beat back on December 17th to get the streak rolling. It will be a battle of the top two teams in the Central Division.
– T. Bennett