'It doesn’t matter who we play': Unbeaten London Lightning zoned in, ready for more
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Tim Ellis pauses, cranks his neck to the sky, and then answers a standard question about 10 seconds after it has been asked.
Tim, what do you guys need to focus on when facing the Moncton Miracles?
“They do have a shooter, Darrell Wonge – can’t leave him open,” he said, finally. “Sylvania Watkins does some of the dirty work for them. And then Tyrone Levett — we know him from playing here last year — you have to keep an eye on him, too.”
Ellis’ hesitation doesn’t spring from a lack of preparedness. Rather, the London Lightning simply don’t give two hoots who their next opponent is.
“We’re approaching every game like it’s our last,” London head coach Michael Ray Richardson said. “We need to play defence, rebound, pass the ball. If we do those three things, we won’t have a problem.
“It doesn’t matter who we play.”
At 10-0, you can’t blame the defending National Basketball League of Canada champs for these refreshingly honest comments. They’ve taken the eight-team pro circuit by storm, averaging more points per game than anybody else (115.8) while also allowing the fewest than anybody else (92.2).
The Lightning’s roster is a who’s who of potential all-stars, with eight players averaging 11 or more points per game. They’re beefy in the all-around contributor department, and boast enviable depth and balance.
“Tim Ellis, he does a lot of things that don’t show up on the stat sheet,” Richardson said. “Rodney (Buford) has been huge coming off the bench. Adrian (Moss) has been huge coming off the bench. Elvin Mims has been unbelievable.”
The only two London players on the NBL’s points-per-game leaderboard are forwards Ellis (20th) and Jermaine Blackburn (19th). The former, an alumnus of Kansas State University, is No. 1 in another category, though: Field-goal percentage (55.8).
“I just try to take high-percentage shots,” said Ellis, 31. “Most of my shots are lay-ups. For my career, I’ve always hovered around 50 per cent.”
On Thursday, London will lock horns with the 8-6 Miracles for the first time this season. The start time at Budweiser Gardens is 7 p.m.