Riders grind down Giants on the road for opening success.
Manchester Giants 70-86 Leicester Riders (23-25, 45-46, 56-65)
Leicester Riders’ title defence got off to a winning start, but they were pushed hard on the road by a spirited Manchester Giants side.
The home side eventually went down by 16 points as they made last season’s treble-winners work until the final buzzer, even without Jerelle Okoro.
Leading Scorers – Jones 18, Kadiri 17, Rettig 11 (Giants) Robertson 17, Leonard 13, Holder 12 (Riders)
Turning Point – The Giants kept pace with their opponents for the majority of the game (leading by as many as six) and the score was level at 52 in the third before a 13-4 close to the quarter put Leicester in control.
Key Stat – Riders showcased their strength in depth with their bench stepping up with 45 points and having conceded 45 points in the first half, the defence held Manchester to just 25 in the second 20.
Game Hero(es) – Eric Robertson went 7-of-9 from the field for 20 points in 17 minutes of action as he provided the Riders with a much-needed spark off the bench.