Week 3 had an 8 game slate and some games were interesting while some were dissapointing and a couple were straight blowouts. There is so much basketball left to be played so no team should really get that discouraged with their start but it may be time to run a practice or 2 to get people on the same page. Shoutout to Yaga and Vasko for helping out at the scorer's table! Let's get right to it.
MAGIC vs SPURS: This was a battle of 0-2 team both looking to get their season turned around. The Spurs after a couple heartbreaking losses decided to tinker with the starting lineup which they believed would get them off to a better start. Well it did not happen in this one as they scored a grand total of 14 points in the first half...luckily for them the Magic were even worse with 12. Just a sloppy game with turnovers and missed shots but the Magic did play a lot better defence than in their previous games. That is definitely a step in the right direction as they were coming into the game allowing on average 59 points per game! Now they gotta just get their offence going and would love to see their shooter actually take more shots including Naren, Babith and Manish. Matheos was held in check for the 2nd straight game with only 7pts in this one and he was definitely pressured throughout the game. All it takes is 1 game to turn the season around and that is all GM Manish should be focusing on. The defence is improving and if they can squeeze out a victory soon they will be right in it battling for a playoff spot. The Spurs meanwhile played a strong defensive game in the 2nd half themselves and slowly secured the victory. On a day where everyone struggled...Baki came up with some big shots and made some timely freethrows to seal it for the Spurs. This team is 11th in 3pt makes per game and 12th in 3pt percentage and those numbers need to be higher for them to have success this season. They got very good shooters and I am expecting them to break out soon. Spurs get their first dub while the Magic look to rebound against the Jazz on Sunday.
Final Score: Magic 23 - 33 Spurs Player of the Game - BAKI KARUNANITHI 16pts/7rebs/2asts/4stls
PELICANS vs SIXERS: This was a big matchup between two squads familiar with each other. The Pelicans were missing Sen and Omar who are 2 key role guys and they might have been able to give them an added spark with their shooting and defence. Regardless, the Pelicans put up a great fight led by their floor general Vijay who showed why he is one of the superior guards in the league with his shooting and defence. His playmaking was good as well but his teammates could not hit any shots consistently in this one. Vman struggled to score but had 14 boards and 5 assists! Rakulan chipped in 7 and he is quickly showing that he can also be a shooter on this team. GM Harrison is the guy that will need to step up and give this team that boost on offence like he has shown in the past. The Sixers have such a balanced starting 5 that anyone of them can step up and take control of a game. That is exactly what Matty Brice did as he led them with 14 points and made timely plays throughout the game. He is usually looking to facilitate but they needed his offence in this one and he picked great spots to attack. Abe had an bad game shooting as he went 0/10 but the rest of his team picked up the slack including GM Nirosan aka Flash who had 13 pts and 4 assists while Mr. Adrian Binns was a beast on the boards with 10 including 7 offensive rebounds!! He uses his strength and position to keep the ball alive and came up with some big time extra possessions which made a big difference in this one. This game could have gone either way but the Sixers made key plays down the stretch to keep the Pelicans at bay and secure the victory. Pelicans get the Bulls this Sunday while the Sixers get a bye week.
Final Score: Pelicans 41 - 48 Sixers Player of the Game - MATTY BRICE 14pts/6rebs/2asts/2stls/1to - 66.6% Shooting - 2 Triples
TIMBERWOLVES vs KINGS: Will GM Suthan finally get a victory...the last time he got a regular season victory was on Sunday May 27th, 2018 (end of season 3)!!! His brother Athavan has been along for this journey plus Nick and Steven Wong have felt the pain as well for the most part. The 5 other new guys however were suppose to turn this ship around and 2 games into this season we are seeing pretty much a repeat of the past season. Iso ball, chuck shots, and yell at each other...this starting 5 is talented and there is no reason why they can't make some noise this season. Arun made his debut but couldnt buy a shot while Dinash did not get many opportunities to make an impact on the game. Anthony is content with letting it fly from deep but he has only connected on 25% of those in 2 games. He has been successful whenever driving to the hoop where he has connected on 54% of those shots in 2 games so he is going to have to make a conscious decision to attack the basket. It may take these guys a few games to get going which is fine but it is going to be a dogfight to get into the playoffs this season. The Kings on the other hand have gotten off to a good start beating the Spurs and Wolves. The man responsible for doing the heavy lifting in this one was Mr. Duzan Indrasithu who was terrific with a game high 28 and a ETBL high 7 steals for this season. This is why he is regarded as one of the best players in the league with his ability to impact the game on both ends. His big bro, Senthu, also was good with 14/7/3, 2stls, 2blks but did have a game high 7 turnovers (we will blame this on wedding hangover lol). Steve Wieclawek did a phenomenal job on the boards with 13 and this is what GM Pras envisioned could happen when picking him up late in the draft. Looks like he will get the nod to guard some of the better bigs in the league who have size and strength. Kings face the Blazers in what should be a doozy (only made sense to use this word) while the Twolves get a bye to regroup.
Final Score: Twolves 43 - 51 Kings Player of the Game - DUZAN INDRASITHU 28pts/4rebs/1ast/7stls/1to - 60% Shooting - 2 Triples
NETS vs SONICS: This is what the Sonics needed to keep the doubters at bay with a statement victory over a quality Nets squad who was at full strength. The first half the Nets controlled for the most part as Davy was getting loose for shots and their bigs were securing all the loose balls. They had a 7 point lead at half and it finally looked like the Sonics were going to take their first L of the season. Zaid and Zoobee with a little help from Harman decided that was not going to be the case as they stormed back to take the lead in the 2nd half and eventually cruised to victory. They turned up the defence on Davy and made it tougher on him plus they attacked the interior of the Nets D and got to the freethrow line. It is very rare to win an ETBL game without hitting a triple but that is exactly what the Sonics were able to do after going 0/13 from deep. They kept their composure, they cheered constantly from the bench, and they kept playing defence. Zaid put the exclamation point on the game when he stole the ball while the Nets were inbounding from underneath their basket...then eurostepped fallaway jumper off the glass...plus the foul! Jeez. They are slowly earning everyone's respect after this gritty comeback win. Zaid and Zoobee present problems, Justin is underrated, Rahul does all the dirty work (in a good way lol), and everyone else plays their role. Now, I gotta stop praising them before I start sounding like a fanboy lol. The Nets turned the ball over 15 times and that was pretty much the story of the game. Those turnovers especially the live ball ones allowed the Sonics to take advantage of them in transition plus they could not set up properly on defence most of the time. Mike has been fine for them but he may have to start taking more shots and being aggressive to help alleviate some of the load on Davy's shoulders. I expect them to bounce back.
Final Score: Nets 41 - 51 Sonics Player of the Game - ZAID PAREKH 17pts/8rebs/2asts/5stls/1blk/1to
LAKERS vs BLAZERS: The Blazers are back. GM Annojh has decided to bring his old team name which had a pretty successful run in Season 3 and also brought back his good buddy NJ to pair up Chris D'Souza forming one of the best duo's in the league. Annojh just forgot to bring himself, Suren and Niss to the game resulting in the Blazers playing with only 5 against GM Somi and the Lakeshow. Christian Alicpala made his debut after Somi recruited him during the offseason to lead this Laker team. He balled out in the first half hitting deep bombs and looked amazing to start his first ETBL game. It was a competitive first half and the Blazers held a 1pt lead going into the 2nd half. This is when NJ took the game over with his passing and started finding his guys for great looks including newcomer Rogith Vadivelu who was fantastic at cutting to the net. He went a rediculous 10 for 11 on mostly layups fed to him by his teammates and also was impressive on defence with 2 steals and 2 blocks!! CD15 (Chris D'souza) had a game high 27pts and looks like he is going to have a monster season with this squad. Vijith who was relied on as the 2nd option in the previous rendition of the Blazers...can now just chill back and do his thing which is hitting triples (hit 4 of them in this one) and also chipped in 4 boards and 4 assists. He is going to have nights where he will be left open just cuz of the talent increase on his team and the attention they are going to garner so he can be a big time x-factor for this squad. They outscored the Lakers 43 to 15 in the second half...and did I mention they only had 5 guys?!? GM Somi had no answers for them and it is going to be a long year for them if they don't give Christian some help on the offensive end. Let's see how they rebound this Sunday against the Warriors.
Final Score: Lakers 40 - 69 Blazers Player of the Game - ROGITH VADIVELU 20pts/10rebs/5asts/2stls/2blks/0to - 91% Shooting
WARRIORS vs PISTONS: The rematch of last season's finals!...well sort of...they have completely new rosters with only 5 of the 16 players still on their respective squads but the GM's are the same (Sanjoo and Gautham) and the team names are the same so there you go. They both have had interesting offseasons and it would take too long to describe it but in the end both squads look like they could make some noise if they gel. The Pistons definitely looked like the team with better chemistry as they have already played a game with a fully healthy squad and it showed in this one as they beatdown the Dubs. The ninja headband brothers (Gopal and Gogs) were back at it slicing and karate choppin their way to a combined 29 points which was more than enough on this night. Asim and Cameron made an impact on defence with a combined 4 steals and 2 blocks while Umar had a game high 6 assists! Vinoth gobbled up boards...Sugee and Sanjoo knocked down their lone 3pt attempts...everything is going as planned for the Pistons and they look like they have been playing together for awhile. Everyone seems to understand their role and they are off to a solid start this season. The Warriors finally had everyone back after playing with only 5 last game but it seemed like less is more when it comes to this squad. Everyone is pretty solid and so finding the right amount of touches and shots may be difficult unless some accept a lesser/different role. It will be interesting to see how GM Gautham plays his cards this season as he definitely has a lot of talent but figuring out how everyone fits will be the challenge. It might be a bumpy road until then but they could definitely make some noise once they figure it out. Warriors get the Lakers this Sunday while the Pistons play the Heat in what should be a great game.
Final Score: Warriors 35 - 50 Pistons Player of the Game - GOHULAN SIVA 16pts/4rebs/3asts/2stls - 63.6% Shooting - 2 Triples
BULLETS vs HEAT: Trash talk level on one thow wow in this one. This felt like a game that would be played outdoors with no rules probably near some ghetto apartment buildings and you know there is a chance that one guy has a weapon in his backpack...Okay, maybe not that bad but still this game featured cheap shots, shoving, trash talk, and lots of fouls. These are two solid squads looking to make a name for themselves but the Heat were able to keep their composure just a little bit longer than the Bullets to earn themselves the victory. Bullets were playing shorthanded without Zayn and he woulda made a difference but it was still a competitive game for the most part. Ruben, Venush and Ajevan were all solid in this one as they combined for 32 points! Venush was in his bag as he was talking smack and playing defence while Ruben and Ajevan hit some clutch shots. Nidun was the focal point of the Heat and they did whatever they could to try and get under his skin. He did have an off night shooting the ball as he went 3 for 12 but still did everything else with 14 boards, 4 assists, 4 steals and 1 block! I was looking forward to the Nidun versus Milton matchup but we never got to see it on defence as Milton was guarded by Myooran for most of the game. Milton finished with 14 points on 6 of 12 shooting and although that is not disastrous...it still would have been interesting to see how Nidun would have fared against him. You are typically going to have to throw different bodies at him, zone him, and front him to make him work for his buckets and I felt the Bullets did not try this at all in this one. The good thing for the Heat this season is that even if teams put that much attention on the big man...they got a 2 time finals MVP to hand the ball to and Mr. Amit Sieukumar balled out in this one with 20 huge points to lead his squad. Tough performance from him and the entire squad as they get a big time victory
Final Score: Bullets 53 - 58 Heat Player of the Game - AMIT SIEUKUMAR 20pts/1reb/2asts - 50% Shooting - 2 Triples
BULLS vs PACERS: The game of the night happened to be the last game of the night featuring Ali Nizam vs Shang Sinnathurai. These two went at it in TTBA as two of the best players in the game and now they get to go at each other once again and they both did not dissapoint. Shang with 27/7/3 and 4 steals and 0 turnovers in an incredible performance while his teammate Tes also had his breakout performance with 24/7/1 and 1 steal!! When they both attacked downhill it was tough to stop and they combined to go 20 of 26 from 2pt range! It was when they settled for three's that led to their undoing as they combined for 3 for 20 from deep. Ali who was passive in his first game was definitely alot more engaged and ready to ball in this one. There were people in the stands egging him on and rumors of GM Vimal/teammates also encouraging him to do more on the court (or maybe he read the previous recap lol)...well he obliged with 24pts on only 10 shots and was money at the freethrow line going a perfect 9 for 9. Dude is still an elite shooter and ball handler and can get to wherever he wants on the court. He eats, sleeps and breathes basketball and it was only right that he took it upon himself to get his team going...if this is the Ali we are going to get consistently the Pacers are going to be in the conversation but we gotta wait and see. The Pacers had control of the game claiming a 14pt halftime lead and led by as much as 17 in the opening frame. Kevin was solid with 14 and 7 but it was Jenush who came up with the biggest shot of the game. After a furious comeback by Shang and Tes...literally just them two as noone else score on their team lol...the game was tied with less than 11 seconds left. All the attention was on Ali but Nathies decided to lob the ball to Jenush on the block and he went to work and finished strong to give the Pacers the lead with about 5 seconds left. Shang gets the inbounds after a timeout and drives right and dishes to a wide open Tes in the corner for the game winning 3 at the buzzer...but no it was not meant to be as the ball went halfway down and popped out! The Bulls were that close to getting their first victory but instead the Pacers will take that honor and try to continue their momentum into this Sunday against the Spurs. The Bulls will face the winless Pelicans next.
Final Score: Bulls 51 - 53 Pacers Player of the Game - ALI NIZAM 24pts/10reb/2asts - 60% Shooting - 3 Triples