Basketball: Leicester Riders coach Rob Paternostro admits Sheffield Sharks deserved win
Riders head coach Rob Paternostro believes his side were second best to Sheffield Sharks.
The BBL league leaders were chasing the game from the start at the Emirates Arena, Glasgow, and found themselves behind at the end of every quarter.
Paternostro's men stayed in touch and fought valiantly to level the game at 69-69 with less than 10 seconds to go.
Two free throws gave Sharks a 71-69 lead and Riders ultimately spurned possession in the dying seconds as they failed in their bid to land a second piece of silverware this season.
"Don't take anything away from the Sharks," said Paternostro. "I thought they were the better side for the majority of the game.
"They came out with a lot of energy and made a lot of shots early, which got the confidence going. Give all credit to them.
"I was disappointed in the way the last minute played out – I thought we made some critical errors.
"We put ourselves in position with less than a minute to go with the ball, and more times than not we feel like we would get the job done from there.
"We played well in spurts but struggled to find the right rhythm.
"I expected us to score more than 69 points. Defence wasn't the biggest problem for us but offensively we struggled.
"When you get to a final, you have to make sure you play well on the day and we didn't play as well as we could."
This was the fifth time the two sides had met this season, with Riders coming away victorious in the previous four occasions.
"A lot of so-called experts, who obviously don't know a lot about basketball, thought this was going to be a one-sided game," said Paternostro.
"Sheffield have a lot of talent. This is the fifth time we have played them this season and we knew this would be the toughest one, and it was."
Paternostro paid tribute to the few hundred Riders fans who had made the 300-mile journey to Glasgow only to go home disappointed.
"It is hard after the game to see all the fans," he said. "I wish I could go up to every one of them and tell them how much we appreciate that they made this trip up here.