The New York Lightning hosted their first home game in the ABA at the Brooklyn Stuy Dome and even with all the rain and “Lightning” Sunday Afternoon the Bronx Holy Flames did not burn out. The game was intense deep into the fourth quarter, and it is clear that this match-up has the chance to become a good rivalry.
With two minutes left in the fourth, the Lightning was down by three points and momentum on their side. After forcing a turnover, the Lightning found themselves with the opportunity to take the lead with 1:40 left in the game.
Point guard Travis Conyers came off the screen and drove to the basket, the shot missed and Lightning grabbed the rebound. Before the ball was put back up, an over-the-back foul was called which was followed by a technical foul, giving the Holy Flames four shots at the line.
Thanks to the 3D-rule*, the Lightning still had a few chances at tying the game up, but the technical foul would be the turning point in the game as the Lightning would go on to lose 100-96. This game was different from their previous two, the Lightning were more aggressive and attentive on defense while they struggled slightly on offense.
“This felt like a playoff game, I have to give credit to both sides this was a typical pro atmosphere,” said New York Lightning owner/coach Willie Negron. “We will use this as a stepping stone for the upcoming season,” he added.
Unlike the first two games, the Lightning had a full roster to work with which clearly made a big difference on defense and the offensive glass. Although the defense was much better, the offenses struggles with turnovers continued, and a lot more missed shots than previous games.
“I’m very happy with my guys defensively, but offensively some potholes led to our defeat but once again this is our preliminary season, and we have nothing to lose,” said coach Negron. “I think we got more help on the boards today that I think changed the complexion of the game,” he added.
While the Lightning had a full roster, the Bronx Holy Flames did not, missing key players like Rich Ross and Rowe Ahgo. They were clearly lost on the offensive end as the Holy Flames did not have the same accuracy from behind the three-point line as last game.
“That was one of the worst games this particular group has played, we were missing a couple of pieces, so maybe that threw off their rotation. Their heads weren’t in the game,” said Bronx Holy Flames owner Geovanni Concepcion. “I do give props to the Lightning Willie had them playing hard they couldn’t get put away, so I have to congratulate them on that,” he added.
The offense for both teams were clearly off in this game, it could have been the great defense, but it was clear both sides couldn’t find their shot early on. The Lightning were able to fight back from being down 12 points, but the Holy Flames were able to hold off every comeback attempt.
“The defense was a positive because that is something that I have been killing them about in practice they don’t always get back and give up some easy buckets,” said Concepcion. “Them actually looking down today was a positive and something I am happy about,” he added.
Leading the charge on offense for the Lightning were Andre Martin and Chris St. Rose with 23 points apiece. While Romeo Bartley (29 points), Simon Gebord (16 points), Kevin Pegram (14 points) were the top scorers for the Holy Flames.
The Lightning will have two weeks to get prepared for the next match-up against out of town Pottstown Flames. This game was clearly a step in the right direction on defense, something they wish to carry over into their next game.
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