Giants must learn to close
MANCHESTER Giants need to find a way of closing out tight games – and fast.
The good work of the early part of the season is being threatened by Jeff Jones’ team’s recent inability to grab victory when things are close.
The Giants have now won only one in seven following the narrow loss at high-flying Worcester, with all bar one of their defeats coming by less than 10 points.
It is a conundrum for Jones, with his team competing without picking up points.
They came from behind to tie their clash with the high-flying Wolves twice – at 49 and 67 – only to fall at the final hurdle with the home team holding them at bay when they got within three again in the last minute.
“It is frustrating,” said Jones. “We did a good job, played hard and did well defensively.
“But we just didn’t get over the hump.
“Whether it is rushed shots at the wrong moment or bad decisions, it didn’t quite click.
“It is a really tough place to come but we need to find a way to win.”
The Giants, who lost Connor Murtagh to a sprained ankle in training this week, have slipped from the top four into the bottom half of the BBL table with a 6-9 record.
It is a predicament that has left Jones on the verge of making personnel changes.
There were, however, positives from a game that saw his men 25-15 down after a quarter, 39-38 behind at the half and 63-55 down going into the fourth period.
Ingus Bankevics and Stefan Gill returned 23 points apiece and the gritty Latvian grabbed nine rebounds and made five assists as well.
Callum Jones had 10 and Mike Bernard nine and, while Wolves’ big man Robert Thurman had an energetic double-double of 27 points and 14 rebounds, Giants were not bettered in the battle of the boards.
“We were not outgunned,” said Jones. “It’s just the little things. But I need to do something.”
It doesn’t get any easier. A trip to table-topping champions Newcastle awaits them next week.
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