NBL Canada Finals Preview: London Lightning vs Halifax Hurricanes
May 25, 2017
NBL Canada Media
Never mind what’s going on elsewhere, If it’s a basketball battle for the ages you’re seeking, the 2017 NBLC Finals meets – and, in fact, exceeds – all the criteria.
A rematch of a classic seven-game series? Check.
Fierce rivals that have been a collision course? Check.
One team that finished with the best regular season record unbeaten in the playoffs, the other that’s the defending champion? Check.
And as an added bonus, this series also features the league MVP.
After thrilling fans with their epic encounter last year, there’s no reason to think that Round 2 between the London Lightning and Halifax Hurricanes won’t also go the distance with each combatant landing their best shot and absorbing the opposition’s hardest counter-punch.
It’s the unstoppable force vs. the immovable object. Goliath vs. Goliath. And when the smoke clears, Canada’s champion will be as deserving as any in basketball the world over.
It also marks the first time in league history that two Canadian head coaches will meet in the Finals and compete for a national championship.
Strap yourself in, because this is gonna be good.
Here’s a breakdown of the series.
How they got here:
London – finished first in Central Division and set mark for most wins in NBLC history with a 35-5 regular season record; defeated Orangeville A’s 3-0 in best-of-five Central Semi-Final series; defeated Windsor Express 4-0 in best-of-seven Central Final series.
Halifax – finished first in Atlantic Division with a 27-13 regular season record; defeated Moncton Miracles 3-0 in best-of-five Atlantic Semi-Final series; defeated Island Storm 4-2 in best-of-seven Atlantic Final series.
Feb. 20 – The Lightning beat Halifax 123-108 before a huge crowd at London’s Budweiser Gardens on Family Day. Royce White led London with 26 points and 14 rebounds, while Halifax’s Billy White scored 23 points and grabbed 7 boards. London never trailed a held a double-digit lead for the final 33 minutes of the game.
Feb. 23 – London got past the Hurricanes 108-104 at the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax. Royce White scored 26 points for London after shooting 12/17 from the field, and the Hurricanes got 21 points from Antoine Mason, who hit six three-pointers. The Lightning led 105-87 before Halifax reeled off a 17-2 run to pull within a possession in the final seconds.
Key stats (includes regular season and playoffs):
London: 115.4 points for per game (1st in NBLC), 103.3 points against per game (4th), .475 fieid-goal percentage (1st) .360 three-point field goal percentage (1st), 49.5 rebounds per game (3rd)
Halifax: 106.6 points for pr game (4th in NBL), 100.6 points against per game (1st),.469 field goal percentage (2nd),.337 three-point field-goal percentage (9th), 51.1 rebounds per game (2nd)
Players to watch:
London: Royce White was named regular season MVP after leading London in scoring (19.8 ppg), rebounds (9.7 rpg), and blocks (0.81), while ranking second in assists (5.7 apg). He recorded a league-record five triple-doubles in the regular season, and added another in Game 1 of the Central Semi-Final against Orangeville.
Halifax: Billy White was the top scorer (17.1 ppg), rebounder (8.1 rpg), and shot-blocker (0.70) on Halifax while being the second most-accurate shooter in the entire league (.616 fg%) during the regular season. The veteran forward averaged 23.8 points and 11.5 rebounds over six games in the Atlantic Semi-Final series.
Game 1 – London 115 at Halifax 105 (Lightning lead 1-0)
Game 2- London 119 at Halifax 133 (series tied 1-1)
Game 3 – Halifax 101 at London 96 (Hurricanes lead 2-1)
Game 4 – Halifax 99 at London 98 (Hurricanes lead 3-1)
Game 5 – Halifax 81 at London 92 (Hurricanes lead 3-2)
Game 6 – London 93 at Halifax 91 (series tied 3-3)
Game 7 – London 117 at Halifax 125 (Hurricanes win 4-3)