2017 NBL Canada Playoff Central Division Finals Preview:LONDON LIGHTNING VS WINDSOR EXPRESS
May 12, 2017
NBL Canada Media
LONDON LIGHTNING (35-5, 1st in Central Division) vs. WINDSOR EXPRESS (22-18, 2nd in Central Division)
With four of the five titles in NBLC history between its two combatants, this series could truly be called a Clash of the Champions.
They are the two hottest teams in the league, London having lost just twice in its last 36 games and Windsor winning 21 of 29 including playoffs. Both swept their respective best-of-five semi-final series, albeit in different fashions: Windsor’s average margin of victory against the KW Titans was just 4 points, with one win coming in overtime and another by a single point. London, on the other hand, out-scored Orangeville by a total of 52 points over the three games.
A key to the series lies in London’s explosive offence (a league-leading 115.2 points per game during the regular season) attacking Windsor’s stout D (100.5 points against per game this season, tops in the Central Division) Lightning led the league with a scoring average of 115.2 points during the regular season.
After averaging 19.6 points, 9.7 boards, and 5.8 assists during the season, Lightning star Royce White was even better against Orangeville, with 26.0 points, 14.3 rebounds and 6.7 dimes per game. Windsor’s Juan Pattillo, who averaged 18.2 points and led the NBLC with 10.4 rebounds per game this season, amassed a total 58 points and 31 boards in the Express’ 3-0 defeat of KW.
HEAD-TO-HEAD SERIES MATCH-UP
While they lost six of seven contests with London, the Express were one of only four teams to win at home against the Lightning during the season, a 114-93 victory at the WFCU Centre on March 8, which was also London’s most lopsided defeat of 2016-17.
To author an upset of the runaway train that is the Lightning, the Express will need to steal at least one game at the Budweiser Gardens; a tall order given London hasn’t lost at home since the first day of the regular season, a streak that now spans 21 games. For its part, Windsor is 7-3 in its last 10 tilts on the road, playoffs included.
This is the third time London and Windsor have met in the Central Division final series, each having won once, with the Lightning prevailing 4-2 last year.