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Owen Parker

Owen Parker writes

Posted Tuesday, September 25th 2018

Analysis » By the numbers - Royals @ Flyers

Bristol Flyers statistician Owen Parker breaks down the numbers which led to Saturday's opening night defeat to London City Royals.

Bristol Flyers could not contain London City Royals as the new team made their BBL debut. The game was closely contested throughout but there were key areas where the result was determined.

Box Score


BATTLE OF THE BOARDS

The first quarter ended with the score level at 17 points apiece, but key differences in performance were already emerging. Royals’ power forward Matthew Bryan-Amaning and centre Will Neighbour both pulled down five rebounds in the first period alone. Their efforts propelled Royals to claim the rebounding battle 13 to 10. Flyers’ ‘defence-first' approach generated multiple turnovers, but they also struggled to take care of the ball themselves too - Royals had six turnovers while Flyers had five. 

Both teams started off struggling to find their range and the first finished with Flyers hitting just 35% (7/20) from the floor and Royals lower at 31.3% (5/16). Royals managed to keep up with the scoring by getting to the foul line. They drew four fouls, all shooting, and hit 6/7 from the charity stripe. Flyers were unable to get to the free throw line in the quarter and drew two fouls

Royals starting backcourt of Ed Lucas and Mac Grayson were held scoreless in the quarter but sixth man Elvisi Dusha brought energy and offence from the bench. For Flyers Justin Gray notably struggled to connect but was already filling up the rest of the stat sheet with an assist, steal and block in the quarter.


DEFENCE LEADS TO OFFENCE

JALAN MCCLOUD SCORED 11 OF HIS 20 POINTS IN THE SECOND PERIOD

The second quarter was Flyers’ best of the ballgame. They outscored Royals 21-15 and were able to get out and run more.  Jalan McCloud led the scoring with 11 points in the period including 100% (4/4) from two point range. He was able to beat his defender off the dribble and finish over the Royals bigs multiple times. His drives also got his team mates involved, with high percentage shots, including a drop off pass to Daniel Edozie for a big two handed dunk. Flyers also out-rebounded Royals in the period 13 to 10 with Justin Gray leading the way with four boards in the quarter.

Gray and Panos Mayindombe both had innervating defensive plays, which in turn fuelled Flyers’ offence. These key plays helped Flyers keep the momentum and build a lead heading into half-time. With Flyers able to find easier looks they upped their shooting percentage to 53.3% (8/15) in the quarter. 

Royals' shooting accuracy was consistent with the first quarter at 31.6%. MBA remained their primary threat with eight points on 3/6 (50%) shooting in the quarter. Kyle Carey and Mac Grayson both picked up injuries in the quarter which would see them miss the remainder of the game. 


FLYERS SHOOTING WOES

FLYERS SHOT JUST 16% FROM DEEP IN THE THIRD QUARTER

The third period started well for Flyers but was quickly derailed as Royals switched to a zone defence. Meanwhile Royals began to dial in from long range. Early threes from Dusha and Lucas brought the score close. Royals picked up their team offence with all six remaining players getting involved in the scoring. The zone stifled the Flyers offence, notably holding them scoreless for a 3:30 stretch midway through the quarter.  Marcus Delpeche broke the drought with aggressive offence. He was a ray of hope in the period with eight points including 4/4 from the free throw line but picked up a knock to the head which would limit his minutes for the remainder of the game.

The combination of improved shooting from Royals and the effective defence limiting Flyers scoring caused a complete turnaround in the game. Royals shot 63.6% from the field (10/16) including 3/5 (60%) from three point range. Meanwhile Flyers accuracy dropped to 37.5% (6/16) in the quarter and their three point shooting could not keep up at 1/6 (16.7%). The quarter ended with Flyers behind 55-60.

Flyers' shooting woes continued into the fourth period.  The home team went 35.3% from the floor (6/17). Royals maintained their improved second half accuracy 58.3% (7/12) but shot lower volumes due to Flyers limiting their opportunities by forcing turnovers (seven in the quarter). Jalan McCloud and Fred Thomas cooled off, but Justin Gray found his range in a late surge for Flyers, hitting two key three-pointers to keep the game tantalisingly close.


WHERE WAS IT WON AND LOST?

Flyers undoing mainly came from their inability to generate quality shots, finishing the game shooting 39.7% (27/68) from the floor. Several starters struggled to find make-able shots, combined with losing out on the rebounding battle 35 to 44. Flyers were unable to keep up with their opposition, particularly through the second half.

Positives from the box score include: Flyers forcing 19 turnovers and generating 21 points from these; managing to generate scoring in the paint to the tune of 36 points; and outscoring Royals on the fast break 23 to 18. If they can maintain their defensive intensity while picking up their half-court offence to find better looks, games like this might well have a different outcome.

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