We had a 7 game slate on Sunday and pretty much all were blowouts except for the last game of the night where we had a thriller. We had a few teams get their first W of the season and we had some other teams remain undefeated. Shout out to Yaga and Wilbert for helping us out at the scorer's table! Let's get right to it.
PISTONS: The opening game on this Sunday was supposed to be an interesting one but it ended up being a easy victory for the Lakers. The Pistons were missing 3 of their top 6 (Vinoth, Cameron, and Asim) which meant they had no bench and basically their bench was their starters with GM Sanjoo and Sugee having to play the whole game. It was still a competitive first half which got Sanjoo pumped as he knew they were still in it even though they were extremely shorthanded. Rising star Gohulan Sivakumar kept them in it as he finished with a game high 24 points to go along with 9 boards. 4 assists and 2 steals!! Kid was hitting from long range (3 triples) and playing solid defence as he was able to keep the score close in the first half. GM Somi finally hit some shots for the Lakers dropping 12pts in this one and he was left wide open in the corner all game as the Pistons played their 2-3 zone. Nakkeeran also came up huge with 12pts of his own as he gave them a huge spark in the 2nd half. Christian was back to his normal self after a bad game in the previous one and he led the way for the Lakers as he was tough to handle on the drives. If the Lakeshow can get some contributions from their young guys they will have a chance to make a bit of noise. It is only one game and it was against a shorthanded team but they still play alot better than in their previous outings. Pistons are dangerous when they have all their pieces and they will look to rebound in their next game. Lakers get the Spurs next and they hope to continue their momentum.
Final Score: Lakers 57 - 44 Pistons Player of the Game - CHRISTIAN ALICPALA 22pts/7rebs/4asts/3stls - 2 Triples
WARRIORS: This was suppose to be a good test for both teams as they are both deep and talented. Biggest difference though is the chemistry level and the Sonics would get an A+ in that category! They just know where everyone is supposed to be and what they are suppose to do...and when they go through stretches where they aren't moving the ball or moving without the ball they definitely do struggle but usually someone on the bench figures it out pretty quickly and lets the team hear it. Everyone is on the same page and it is fun to see and the results have backed it up. The bench also yelled out at the beginning of the game..."they are running 2-3 zone, know what to do!"...solid communication and teamwork! They did destroy the Warriors zone and built up a 23 to 12 lead in the first half as they were getting into the middle of the zone and executing pretty easily. Warriors looked a little lazy and lacked that intensity/hustle/effort that is needed to compete with teams like the Sonics. Zoobee and Zaid combined for 40 in this one on 61% shooting plus combined for 16 rebs and 8 assists as they are becoming a dynamic duo in their own right. Zaid was the silent assassin while Zoobee was balling and talking trash with Thanujaan. Justin continues to do a bit of everything and did a really good job on Jamshed using his size length to disrupt his shots and limited him to 12 points. Until this team is clicking on offence...it will be Jamshed and Thanujaan that will need to carry the load but there is still time to get the chemistry right. Dubs get the Magic next game while the Sonics get a matchup with the Blazers on Sunday.
Final Score: Sonics 58 - 43 Warriors Player of the Game - ZAID PAREKH 21pts/13rebs/3asts/1stl - 64% 3 Triples
PACERS: GM Suthan has finally done it...the Timberwolves have won a regular season game and it must feel like Christmas for the people that had to endure that losing streak (Suthan, Nick, Athavan, Steven). They took care of Ali and the Pacers even though it was a hard fought battle throughout the game. Anthony went on a flurry in the 2nd half where he hit 2 deep triples and another basket to push the lead to 10 (48 - 38) and they would hold on for the victory. The new additions for Suthan came up big with Dinash playing solid defence (1 steal and 2 blocks) while Mr. Arun Vasanthakumar was dynamite attacking the rim. His finishes around the basket were tough and he really stepped up in this one to lead his team in scoring with 23. Him and Anthony will need to learn to play off each other as oppose to going ISO constantly but once they figure that out they will be a tough duo. The Pacers are still finding themselves but against a good team it will be easier to gameplan if both guards are just taking turns dominating the ball. If they can also create for each other and their teammates or at least have them as threats on offence...this team will be tough to handle. Nick is 6 for 10 in his last 2 games and he is going to have to be a big part of this offence and the onus will be on Casper and Arun to find him for open shots as he is a more than capable shooter. Pacers did not have any issues scoring as Ali and Kevin combined for 38 but it was their defence that let them down. It was a winnable game but there was some costly turnovers and some big shots made by the Twolves to put this one away. They will look to bounce back against the Nets.
Final Score: Twolves 62 - 55 Pacers Player of the Game - ARUN VASANTHAKUMAR 23pts/4rebs/2asts/1blk/1to - 50% Shooting
NETS: The Magic are slowly creeping back up the standings after occupying the basement for a few weeks. I was clamoring for them to improve their defence...which they did...get others involved...which they have...slow the pace down and grind out victories...they did exactly that in this one. They have a chance to control the boards most games with their two legit bigs (PJ and Obaid) while Naren, Brian, Babith can shoot the ball and they have a dynamic scorer in Matheos. Add in the defence of Manish and Waqar and they have the ingredients to compete in every game and they have shown incredible progress after their rough start. GM Manish told me it would take some time to get their chemistry right and as of now they look like a completely different team from week 1. Matheos made some big shots in this one and got some key offensive boards to keep possessions alive for them as he played a very smart game. The Nets meanwhile just did not have it in this one and their rotations and lineups did not look very organized. They could have matched up better with the opposing team instead of just getting rest and minutes for players but in the end it came down to shot making and that they did not do very well. They also struggled at the line missing 8 freethrows and win you lose by 8...it just stings even more. Couldn't get any production out of the role guys in this one and the Nets now sit at 2-2. They get Ali and the Pacers in the next one and if the pattern hold true so far...they will play alot better and win that game. The Magic get the Warriors in what will be a statement game for them as they look to get back to .500!
Final Score: Magic 41 - 33 Nets Player of the Game - MATHEOS KOSTAS 17pts/7rebs/1ast/2stls
BLAZERS: Okay, so this was suppose to be the main event of the day as two talented squads went at it in prime time. But in the end it only looked like one team was talented as the Clippers absolutely destroyed the Blazers right from the start. A 28 to 6 lead just past the midway point of the first half told us that the Blazers were not ready for this one. Reigning MVP Kris took it to them early on and then Anson stole the show late as he was on fire from long distance as he hit 5 of 6 triples! Archu was all over former MVP NJ and did a heck of a job denying him the ball...NJ took only 4 shots in this one...matter of fact...Annojh took more shots than him which we would never have bet on. The Blazers kind of looked lost out there and this was a complete opposite of how they looked against the Lakers...yes completely different opponents but the confidence should remain the same...the Clippers seemed to have taken their soul in that first half and the Blazers never recovered. They better hope to get their mojo back asap or else the Sonics are going to lay a beatdown on them this Sunday as well lol. The fans were dissapointed in the game and it almost seemed like the Blazers were perplexed and did not know what to do once NJ was not heavily involved. I guess this is what they mean when they say 'cut off the head of the snake, and the body dies'. Chris D'souza struggled in this one and he is their biggest advantage against the Clippers with his size but he settled for too many shots. Clip City looks to be in good form early on while the Blazers need to get their soul back.
Final Score: Clippers 56 - 36 Blazers Player of the Game - ANSON ANTON-PHILIP 19pts/5rebs/3asts/2stls/0to - 83.3% Shooting - 5 Triples
SIXERS: This was suppose to be the co-main event of the day but with the Sixers missing Abe Ross and were looking extremely undersized against the Nuggets...and unfortunately for the fans...it ended up being another blowout. I am sure GM Ray doesn't mind that at all and his team has gotten off to a terrific start this season. Ray always devises schemes and strategies for his squad and so far they have been right on the money as he looks to win his 3rd GM of the Year award. Micheal and Kenneth were extremely active in this one as they put pressure on the guards of the Sixers all game while Dwayne did a great job on Matty Brice using his length and size on him. Dwayne collected 1 steal and 3 blocks and made sure Matty had a tough time getting clean looks on those midrange shots. Nirsan and Junior did the heavy lifting on offence as they combined for 30 points and Junior was awesome at finding his teammates in this one with 8 assists! The Nuggets look to be a true contender this season as they got a bit of everything and they can hang their hat on defence every game with their length and size. Plus their jerseys are fire and so everything looks to be on point for the Nuggets to make some serious noise this season. The Sixers were shorthanded and were not able to overcome that against a tough squad but I expect them to bounce back in their next game.
Final Score: Nuggets 56 - 34 Sixers Player of the Game - NIRSAN KUNARATNAM 14pts/10rebs/2asts- 60% Shooting - 2 Triples
JAZZ: Who knew this would be the game of the night but thankfully we had one great contest to end of they evening! Jazz finally had their full lineup and Nitharsan made his ETBL debut. He was out with an injury and did not look fully healthy but he played through it and gave the Jazz a spark right away. They came out running and gunning in the first 4mins which should be the style they play with most of the time. They got young legs as Suman, Mithun and Nitharsan are all under the age of 23! They all can score the ball and they did that early on as they took a commanding 17 to 2 lead right away. The Hornets were without Nishan and Bavi once again so it was going to be a tough uphill climb. Jelton and company however regrouped and showed some resiliancy as they went on to outscore the Jazz 48 to 30 the rest of the way and squeeked out a 3 point victory!! Just alot of heart shown by this Hornets squad led by Jelton who had 21 and was a force whenever he drove ball to the basket. He either created for his teammates or got to the line or made a tough basket. His lil bro Jeffrey who we all know for his trash talking...hit a flurry of 3s (4 of them) to bring the Hornets back to life in the second half and like usual he let everyone know that he was in the zone lol. Subi also subbed in and calmed everything down for the Hornets in the first half. He also made solid passes and got his teammates good looks plus made a heck of an outlet read/pass to Jelton for the dagger layup. In general the Hornets really showed their veteran experience while the Jazz showed a bit of inexperience especially late in the game. Costly turnovers and bad shot attempts really hurt them late in this one. Nitharsan is still shaking off the rust but once he does this team will be fun to watch but as of now they are 0-3 and they get the Pelicans this Sunday in what will be a big game for both clubs as GM Harrison and the gang have dug themselves the same type of hole (0-3). The Hornets get a week off and look to have a full healthy squad soon to build off this momentum.
Final Score: Hornets 50 - 47 Jazz Player of the Game - JELTON JESUDASAN 21pts/7rebs/4asts/2stls - 3 Triples