Week 13 in the books and we had a little bit of everything on Sunday. We had no shows...close battles...blowouts...and an injury. Shout out to Anson and Gopal for helping out at the table and Annojh for taking his amazing photos! (follow us on IG @east_toronto_basketball_league). Only 3 Sundays left in the regular season (Jan 26th, Feb 9th and Feb 23rd) before we clamp down for the playoffs. It is going to be a wild finish without a doubt. Let's get right to it.
SONICS: Two solid teams squared off in the opener and 2 things really stood out in this one...firstly, Zaid is a lethal scorer and can get his shot off in numerous ways...secondly, the Pistons have good 2 way players at almost every position. Even Vinoth who has been coming off their bench this season has made some impact plays to affect the game and can be trusted to guard some of the best players in the league. They almost had 4 guys in double figures (Gopal had 9) and they had 6 blocks as a team. They have beaten 2 quality opponents in a row (Blazers previously) and will look to finish the season off strong. The Sonics continue their up and down season...Zaid and Zoobee were good combining for 36 but the way they got their points didn't feel like Sonic basketball. It felt like they relied on a lot of ISO's and pullups from their 2 studs rather than them scoring in the flow of the offence which they have done in alot of their wins. They are playing better competition though and the ball does get deflected and stolen when you pass it around alot against these types of teams but I was talking more about setting offball screens/pindowns and getting slashers to the net. The movement in general has gotten alot more stagnant and less fluid. The couple times they did drive and kick, set high screens and move without the ball...they got 2 clean looks for VJ who nailed the midrange jumpers. They also did not get that 3rd scorer which seems to be essential in these types of games. Big win for the Pistons.
Final Score: Pistons 54 - 49 Sonics Player of the Game - CAMERON JESUDASAN 10pts/8rebs/2asts/1stl/1to - 80% Shooting
PACERS: The Pacers went from holding onto the 15th spot in the playoffs last week to now tumbling out of the playoff picture and their chances are pretty much on life support as they forfeited this game to the Hornets. Pretty shocking turn of events as they lose by 48 last week and don't even have enough to show up for this week. Ali has been M.I.A for awhile and hopefully we get to the core of this issue as it develops. Tough way to end the season for GM Vimal and the Pacers. The Hornets boost their run differential and get a key win in their fight for the playoffs.
Final Score: Hornets 25 - 0 Pacers Player of the Game - COMMISSIONER KISHO for giving the Hornets the easiest dub possible!
LAKERS: Big game once again for arguably the front runner for MVP...Mr. Duzan Indrasithu as he torched the Lakers in this one. He is now averaging almost 27ppg on 55.4% shooting and if you compare that to last year's MVP Kris (24.7ppg on 50.6%)...Duzzy has been special without a doubt. Aswath did a little bit of everything in this one with 6 points 5 rebounds 3 assists and a game high 5 steals! He always seems to get his hand on the ball and create deflections and recover loose balls...they will need him to be the x-factor in the playoffs if they want to achieve the ultimate goal. The Lakers season is mercifully coming to an end and it was a lot of growing pains for GM Somi, Chris and Ara as they dealt with alot of young guys who have talent but will need some seasoning first. There were definitely some winnable games that slipped away from them but overall the mountain was too tough to climb this season. They got one game left and it will be a long off season for GM Somi.
Final Score: Kings 60 - 56 Lakers Player of the Game - DUZAN INDRASITHU 33pts/2rebs/5asts/4stls - 56.5% Shooting - 3 Triples
TIMBERWOLVES: The Twolves finally had a squad that was not arguing or at each other's throats for once and it was refreshing to watch. They played as a unit and got after it and had a big 8 point lead in this one in the 2nd half. The Grizz were shorthanded and had no subs but Ben would not let his team lose as he went bananas with 38/11/4 and 3 blocks. He was too big for the Wolves and dominated on the inside and still showed off his shooting range with 3 triples. It was a big time performance and the Grizz needed it badly as now they can breathe a little sigh of relief as a loss woulda put them outside the playoffs. This Grizz team is dangerous when they are healthy and not a team you would want to face in the playoffs but we shall see if they can put it all together by March. Ben has been a force this season and carried the load in this one for a critical win and they will now face the Sonics this sunday in what should be a fun game to watch.
Final Score: Grizzlies 69 - 59 Timberwolves Player of the Game - BEN OKYERE 38pts/11rebs/4asts/3blks - 56% Shooting - 3 Triples
HEAT: No Milton in this one as he got scheduled for work and without him the Heat looked incredibly small on the floor. We had Fasel/Vasko playing the defacto Center spot and it was interesting to see them go up against the giants of the Nets. To their credit though, they held it down and played tough throughout and made this a game. They attacked relentlessly on the offensive end as they had the speed advantage against the bigs of the Nets and got to the line a whopping 30 times! Unfortunately they were only to make 14 of em and that was pretty much the game. Mike Daemi was great and had a double double in this one while Davy led the scoring with 15. Nets were sloppy in this one and bailed out the Heat with fouls and so they will have to clean it up going forward especially in the playoffs.
Final Score: Nets 41 - 37 Heat Player of the Game - MIKE DAEMI 12pts/15rebs/3asts/2stls - 62.5% Shooting
BULLETS: The main event was a good battle especially in the first half but the Clippers locked it down in the 2nd half and pulled away for another victory. Anthony was very good in this one as he started hitting some deep triples and got himself going against a dpoy candidate in Archu. I still prefer him to attack the basket and not rely on these long range triples as he is now shooting 58% on 2s!...and only 23% on 3s...he was better today hitting 5 of 13 from deep. The biggest battle was between Anson and Nidun and the stats won't show it but Anson did a tremendous job being phsyical and getting into the head of Nidun. Nidun had a season low 8 points and tied a season low 9 rebounds...he has been a beast all season but was too passive in this one. Kris was Kris and hit timely shots to deflate the efforts of the Bullets. Alot of times it is not how many baskets you make..but when you make them...not all 2s or 3s are the same! Clips stay undefeated.
Final Score: Clippers 52 - 43 Bullets Player of the Game - KRISOTH GNANENTHRA 19pts/7rebs/6asts/3stls/1blk - 3 Triples
BULLS: This game was all Knicks early on as they got the green light to shoot 3s all game from their new coach (Sujee). Everyone on the roster is empowered to shoot them and spread the court and they made 13 of them in this one which was the main difference in this game as the Bulls only hit 6 of em. Knicks have the supporting players chipping in including Nash, Markus, and Ayam who finished in double figures! As their chemistry grows you can tell they will be a tough team to face. They are trying different zone coverages on defence to keep the opponent guessing and overall they have done a good job just trying to be creative this season with the players they have. The Bulls battled tough in the second half but they could not make up the deficit and are now sitting in the final playoff spot. They have 3 games left and we will see what they can do against the Blazers this Sunday.
Final Score: Knicks 65 - 56 Bulls Player of the Game - JAY KUM 20pts/10rebs/7asts/2stls - 2 Triples
JAZZ: This game ended in a brutal way as Rogith Vadivelu suffered a significant knee injury after he landed akwardly on a dunk attempt with 4mins to go in the game. He was a huge piece to this team as he was able to guard some of the tougher wings/bigs in the league and was a great slasher and rebounder. He said he heard a pop when he landed which is never a good sign...we are praying and hoping for a speedy recovery!! The game was out of hand and both teams were just playing out the string and not really trying so it was understandable that he tried the dunk attempt in this scenario but the Blazers season is now going to hinge on how much their 2 stars can carry them (Chris & NJ). They have the ability to still affect the outcome of games and there are other players who can try and step up to help them out even more. We shall see if they can dig deep and rally together. The Jazz played a competitive first half but with no subs and missing some key pieces...they just could not hang with them in the 2nd half. Nitharsan had a season high 22 on 50% shooting while Mithun had 17/8/3 and 4 steals! Both teams will need to regroup after this one.
Final Score: Blazers 65 - 44 Jazz Player of the Game - CHRIS D'SOUZA 25pts/7rebs/2asts/3stls - 66.6% Shooting - 3 Triples