RANDY George continued his excellent start with the Essex Pirates at Everton Tigers on Friday night, but he could not stop his new side suffering a 99-79 defeat.

The 28-year-old bagged another 24 points to take his own personal tally to 72 in three games.

But some poor defensive work meant George’s efforts went unrewarded, much to the frustration of Pirates head coach Tim Lewis.

“We’re bad defensively at the moment and that’s certainly something we will be working on in training,” said Lewis.

“We’re giving up 100 points a game and that’s just not good enough. Our aim is to give up between 72 to 80 and we’re just lacking that intensity right now.

“We’re not doing the things we were before Christmas and we need to get back to doing that.”

However, the fine form of George — who recently signed from Worcester Wolves — has lifted Lewis’ mood.

“Randy’s come in and he’s doing well for us,” said Lewis.

“He’s been around the game for a while now and he’s very professional in everything he does.

“We’ve brought him into the team and we’re just trying to get that balance right with the other players now.”

George and the free-scoring Taner Adu got the first four points of the game at the Tigers but Flo Larkai hit back for the hosts inside the first two minutes of the game.

Although the Pirates crept out to a 9-3 advantage the Tigers came growling back as they bought the scores level at 10-10.

A Darrell Bethune three-pointer off an Olu Babalola pass then took the Tigers 13-10 ahead — the same point gap as there was at the end of the first quarter as the home side led 25-22.

Walid Mumuni scored a three-pointer at the start of the second quarter to again level the scores, only for Bethune to reply off an Andrew Thomson pass.

A long shot from Olu Babalola for the Tigers, another triple from Bethune, followed by a dunk and a free throw from Larkai put the Tigers 32-25 ahead before they really pushed on to make it 52-37 at half-time.

That burst blew the match open and, for the third quarter, the Tigers outscored their opponents 24-17 to reach a 79-54 lead going into the final 10 minutes.

The last period of the game was more of the same as Everton ran out 99-79 winners.

Adu and Sam Toluwase both bagged 15 points for Pirates who were again without the influential Pablo Rodrigo.

“We do miss Pablo because he has a very good basketball brain,” said Lewis.

“We’re being cautious with his ankle injury but we think he will be fit for our game with Glasgow Rocks this weekend.”

But before then Pirates travel to MK Lions in the first round of the BBL Trophy tomorrow night.

And Lewis is hoping for an improved performance.

“We’ve run them close before and we will need to play much better if we’re to do that again,” he added.