Week 2 is in the books! We played in a totally different facility (Mother Teresa Catholic Academy) for the day games and ended the night back in our usual home (Logos Centre). 8 Games in total...there were controversies...lots of big shots...lots of debuts...just lots of everything and so let's not waste any more time.
MAGIC vs PISTONS: This was the debut for the new look Pistons squad and GM Sanjoo should be quite pleased with how the first game played out. The defence was stifling...the teamwork was evident...and the offence was pretty balanced. The ninja headband brothers Gopal and Gohulan (I am sure I will come up with a cool nickname for them like...Go Go Gadgets?) were everywhere on defence and contributed 26 points on offence. They are both athletic with speed and length and they will cause issues for the other teams best wings/guards. Former MVP Asim Mirza also returned for the first time since winnning that award all the way back in Season 1! He had a quiet game offensively by his standards with 11 and 6 but was solid defensively with a steal and 2 blocks! Umar Ali is their point guard and has good size for a pg with him being 6 feet tall. He was very effective running the offence and led the way with 7 dimes! This team made the finals last year and it was an incredible run led by a superstar but this time they are hoping to achieve the same thing wih a more solid well balanced team . Sugee who is there to space the floor came thru with a couple treys and a couple steals and this team is off to a great start. The Magic took another beating but this time the defence was better for the most part but the offence was atrocious. 21 turnovers will usually lead to getting blown out and you gotta give some credit to the Pistons for that but some of these turnovers were completely unforced. Matheos only got off 7 shots in this one and turned the ball over 6 times...He will need to shoot at least twice that amount for these guys to have a chance. He is a point guard but on this team he will need to play more of the shooting guard as his offence is gonna be vital for survival. It is a big load for him to carry but hopefully his teammates can supply enough offence around him to make this season interesting.
Final Score: Magic 30 - 48 Pistons Player of the Game - GOPAL NARASIMHAIAH 15pts/3rebs/3stls/1to - 66.6% Shooting - 2 Triples
PACERS vs HEAT: Ali Nizam ditched his referee clothes and decided to play instead this season but it was not the debut we were expecting as he finished with only 5pts and 6rebs. Even more suprisingly he only took 6 god damn shots. This Pacer team has zero chance of winning if we get passive Ali this season...they do not need him to be out of this world Ali but we definitely need at least something in the middle. At this stage in his career he is not going to be going all out and possibly get injured but he can still just launch triples and be a little more aggressive than he was. The Heat were able to send different bodies at him and put extra attention on him and this was the first game of the season so maybe he just had an off night (for GM Vimal's sake I hope so). As for the Heat, Milton drew alot of attention in the paint and Amit was able to find openings driving to the basket as he finished with a game high 14points. Rameez hit some timely shots and played some solid defence like he usually does. GM Billal did not play but still coached his team from the sidelines and even got into it a little with Ali who was waiting to check into the game. Now we just need Ali to show the same type of emotion on the court. The Pacers got blown out in the first half and only managed to score 10pts for the first period...yikes. When Nathies leads your team in scoring with 6, it is going to be a long night. I guess it can only go up from here for the Pacers. Heat look great and will look to stay undefeated against the Bullets this week.
Final Score: Pacers 23 - 45 Heat Player of the Game - RAMEEZ AHMED 10pts/7rebs/2asts/2stls/1to - 60% Shooting - 2 Triples
BULLETS vs SIXERS: First time we get to see the Sixers in action after a controversial offseason. In the end after all the dust settled...it is safe to say that the Sixers are a legitimate contender even if it is just after one game. Their team is led by Abe Ross who looks to be a very athletic forward that can shoot the ball from distance. He hit 3 triples and finished with 19 big points while collecting 11 boards. He is quick and has size and will be a problem for most teams. The other starters were Naren, Adrian, Flash,and Matty who is a solid point guard and finished with a game high 7 assists. This team is quick and likes to run but also passes extremely well so this combination is going to lead to many victories. Their only flaw is that they don't have anyone bigger than 6'1 but they seem like they will gang rebound and Adrian Binns is also strong on the boards. They outgunned the Bullets in the second half and their pace and speed was too much for Nidun and company. The Sixers had no answer for Nidun who was a monster with 25/11/2 with 2stls and a block on 9 of 16 shooting! They were however able to shut the rest of the guys out. Venush was missing for the Bullets and he certainly woulda made this game interesting but unfortunately nobody was able to step up in his absence. The rest of the group not named Nidun combined to go 5 for 37 including a 1 for 13 from GM Ruben. He settled for long range shots time after time when he should have been attacking the basket instead. They should still be able to make some noise if everyone is healthy and they will look to regroup this Sunday against Milton and the Heat. The Sixers meanwhile just present alot of trouble for other defences with their shooting and speed/quickness so teams will have to come ready when facing them. Great start for GM Flash and company.
Final Score: Bullets 40 - 53 Sixers Player of the Game - ABE ROSS 19pts/11rebs/2blks/1to - 53% Shooting - 3 Triples
PELICANS vs NETS: Crazy game, crazy ending, crazy scorekeeping lol...just crazy everything. The Nets who added Mike Daemi in the offseason (a 6'4 giant) and Paolo Vergara (adds to the asian invasion) were looking to make it further in the playoffs. They barely squeeked in last season and exited unceremoniously but it is a new season and they took on a new team name (can't believe they gave up the Raptors!) looking to change their fortunes. They went up against another new ETBL squad in the Pelicans led by GM Harrison who added his buddies Vman and Vijay. The Pelicans started off on a 19-3 run mostly because the Nets were missing Mike and Jorge for a whole 10mins to begin the game. They even called a timeout to buy some seconds for their starters to arrive to the gym. They finally did arrive and specifically when Mike entered the game...everything seemed to calm down and the Nets started to chip away at the lead. Mike D wasn't incredibly special in this one but his presence alone just allowed the Nets to play a much more efficient game. He and Shawn gobbled up boards (21 in total) while Davy was getting great separation from his man on the screens set by Mike which allowed him to hit 5 big triples. This was a battle throughout but you could slowly see the momentum shifting in the favor of the Nets. At the beginning the pace and ball movement was exceptional by GM Harrison's squad but halfway through the second half it just kinda stopped and players were settling for bad shots. Hari kept his team in it with some big triples and led the squad with 18 and even had 3 blocks! Down 1 late in the game and Mr. Davy Wong hits a big time triple to take a 2 point lead but the Pelicans answer back with a basket by Vman assisted by Vijay. This is where the scorer's table has to apologize (we have already done so many times) as the scorekeeper did not put the last 2 buckets up as he was focused on making sure the stop time was on point with only less than 10 seconds left. Davy rushes up the court with in a tie game (maybe he thought he was down 1 according to the scoreboard) and gets the ball stolen at midcourt by Vijay who has a breakaway to the basket. He quickly looks at the scoreboard and heads down to hit the layup to extend the lead to three with maybe 1 second left but decides to pass it back out instead...as he thought they were up 1 and tried to run out the clock. Ouch. It would have probably been a buzzer beater layup to win the game but instead we are going to overtime where the Nets managed to squeek out the game on freethrows. Shitty situation and extremely unfortunate timing but it did affect both teams and in the end they got to settle it in overtime fairly. Pelicans will have to focus on how they gave up such a big lead instead of the scoreboard mishap (which won't happen again). The Nets meanwhile get a huge comeback win which will boost their confidence and they might have something special brewing this season.
Final Score: Pelicans 57 - 59 Nets Player of the Game - PAOLO VERGARA 15pts/5ebs/3asts/2stls/1blk/1to - 71% Shooting - 2 Triples
GRIZZLIES vs KNICKS: The Knicks decided to make their ETBL debut by launching 48 triples....yup...that would be a record lol. They hit 10 and that was enough to get them by the talented Grizzlies squad who do not look so talented right now as they hit only 2 triples. With the NBA launching a record amount of triples with advanced analytics deciding it is the right thing to do...maybe the Knicks have found something...or maybe it was the atrocious zone the Grizzlies were playing which allowed them to get that many off. Both teams played zone but the Knicks were more active and recovered to their spots quickly but more importantly the Grizz were just launching semi-contested 3s all game. No ball movement, no cutting, no screens to confuse the defence...just swing across around the arc and launch. It was too predictable and too ineffective especially with how cold the Grizz shooters are. They desperately need Zanoon back in the lineup as he is dealing with an injury and hopefully his re-emergence into the starting lineup will do wonders for them. They have been running with a 6 man squad and everyone from the Grizz squad is gassed by the time we are halfway through the first half. Ben had a quiet double double and Abdul was great defensively but the offence was painful to watch (besides the one time Ben tried to dunk on someone...jeez). The Knicks turned to Markus to close out the game and boy did he come through with some daggers. He definitely was not shy about launching shots as he took 26 of them including 16 long range ones but they needed someone to step up with clutch shots and he certainly did that in this one. It will be interesting to see if they will continue to launch these triples as part of their strategy or will they mix it up more. Ayam was also causing havoc as he kept driving and kicking out to his guys along with running some pick n rolls which further confused the Grizz defenders while they were in their zone. Great start for GM Lemo and the gang.
Final Score: Grizzlies 40 - 47 Knicks Player of the Game - MARKUS JEGANATHAN 17pts/9rebs/1ast/2stls/2to - 3 Triples
BULLS vs WARRIORS: The Warriors were warming up at the Logos Centre and it appeared they had only 4 players and there was talk of maybe even forfeiting. Luckily, Giethan walks through the door and they were able to play but they were still missing their big men Gobie and Suren as well as their GM (Gautham). The Bulls were missing a couple role guys but still had their 1-2 punch of Shang and Tes. Shang did not dissapoint in his ETBL debut as he dropped 30 points like he was playing on easy mode on 2k. He hit deep triples (3 of them), he drove strong to the basket (7 of 11) and he was clutch at the line (7 of 8). This Bulls squad does not have a traditional big but Shang was up to the task of getting all the boards as he had 14 of em in this one to go along with a steal and 2 blocks! They jumped out to a 7pt first half lead but the second half was a different story as Mr. Jamshed Chaudhary put his stamp on the game as he continued to be aggressive and got pretty much whatever he wanted. He was pulling up from everywhere and although he is only 5'7...dude played with a lot of heart and determination dropping 23 in his ETBL debut. Ganen and Giethan combined for 25 boards while Sarjun hit 3 big triples to secure this victory. Thanujaan did a little bit of everything with 10/9/5 on 50% shooting and he will have to continue to be the swiss army knife for this squad. Some days he will just have to focus on locking up the best player, some days he will have to score, some days he will have to just facilitate, and some days he will just have to keep complaining to the refs. This was a big time victory for the Champs and although it is a completely new roster (minus Gman and Thanu) they look to have the pieces to compete at a high level. Meanwhile, the Bulls will need more from Tes who did not have his shot going in this one but did other things to contribute including 5 steals! Sutharsan will have to be more than just a defensive stopper if this team is going to make some noise. Still early and lots of time to figure it out.
Final Score: Bulls 51 - 57 Warriors Player of the Game - JAMSHED CHAUDHARY 23pts/2rebs/3ast/1stl - 4 Triples
SPURS vs NUGGETS: This was a great battle between two legit teams. Nuggets had control of most of the game but the Spurs never quit and were able to rally in the last 6 minutes of the game. They were down 41 to 29 with about 8 n half minues left to play and that is when the Spurs finally turned the switch on starting with a triple by Bahee to cut it to 9. Javed then goes on a flurry making a couple freethrows, then a big triple followed by another big basket to cut it to 2. Donald had a couple big rebounds in crunch time and a huge putback as he finished with a double double (11pts/11rebs). Javed calmly sinks 2 more freethrows to finally snatch the lead from GM Ray and company with very little time left in the game. An outlet pass to Junior and he tried to bring it up the court but Baki was not having it and made an incredible steal from behind as he also tried to keep himself inbounds and eventually got fouled by Junior. Another chance to redeem himself at the line for Baki after a tough week 1...this time it was a 1 and 1 bonus situation to put them up 3 but unfortunately he clanked the first freethrow and the Nuggets had a shot to win it only down 1. Deciding who to go to in these situations will be key for the Nuggets all year but Nirsan had the first crack at it and he drove right while getting double teamed and spun away from the pressure (now a third guy also closes in) and lets the midranger go...a couple Nuggets were wide open on this play including Junior...but it does not matter as Nirsan hits a clutch f*cking shot! 2 straight heartbreakers for the Spurs as they have lost both games by a basket. Nuggets meanwhile move to 2-0 and gaining confidence by the day. Their role guys do the little things including Michael Palanisamy who was tasked to chase around Javed in the last couple sequences and was able to draw a charge on Donald with amazing hustle and pressure. Nuggets are looking good while the Spurs are looking to bounce back against the Magic this Sunday.
Final Score: Spurs 45 - 47 Nuggets Player of the Game - NIRSAN KUNARATNAM 17pts/5rebs/1to - 1 Triple
WOLVES vs SONICS: This was another beatdown as the Wolves were hit with the Sonic boom all throughout the game. The Wolves were missing Arun and Dinash and so this was going to be an extremely challenging game for GM Suthan which proved to be an understatement. The Sonics just pass the ball and trust each other and it usually results in great offensive looks. Every player on the roster scored for the Sonics which is a rare feat in ETBL and it was led by their superstar Zaid who finished with a team high 23pts, 15rebs and 7assists!! Justin and Zobee combined for 20 on 8 of 13 shooting while Rahul Kanda was everywhere with 7/13/4 with 2 steals and a block! A couple guys from the league previously mentioned he was a last round player but they must have been joking as he was balling in this one. This team is deep and already have chemistry on lock...now all they need is to face a team at full strength lol. Their 2-0 with a +46 run differential is impressive but it comes with a couple asterisks. They willl face the Nets this Sunday and we can hopefully see how they play against a full squad. We are not taking anything away from their start as they can only deal with what is in front of them and they have clearly taken care of business. Anthony aka Casper made his return and like usual put up a big scoring night but took plenty of shots to get there (25 on 25 shots). With his backcourt mate Arun not available he had to do all the heavy lifting and did the best he could. He does not look like the same Casper as before especially with conditioning and looking a little out of shape. He still has time to work himself back into shape and this team will need him to be at least 80% percent of the old Casper to make some noise. GM Suthan is still looking for his first win in over year...not a typo. Wolves start off slow while Sonic......BOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMM!!!
Final Score: Wolves 36 - 68 Sonics Player of the Game - ZAID PAREKH 23pts/15rebs/7assists/1stl/2to - 3 Triples