Week 9! We are in the thick of it now. Regular season ends May 1st. The round of 16 will be played over 2 weeks on May 8th and May 15th. The higher seeds will get choice of available timeslots. Now let's see who makes the big dance. Still alot left to play for and some big games this weekend. Let's get right to it.
HAWKS: Hawks played well in the first half and had a 4 point lead on the champs. But the difference is that the Clippers have another gear they can turn up to and they certainly did that on the defensive end. Great adjustments and recognition always allows the Clips to stay in every game and then pull away when it counts even if it has been a struggle this season (has more to do with injuries than anything else). Suren came up huge with a double double and it goes to show you how many different people can step up for this Clippers squad when they need to. James Forrester made his ETBL debut replacing an injured Kris...just terrible news for a guy like Kris who is one of the most passionate and competitive players I have seen in basketball period. He will still be there to coach and help his guys out in any way possible and I am wishing him the best of luck on his surgery and rehab!! Let's see how much of Kris' shoes James can fill...it is definitely a huge ask.
Final Score: Clippers 49 - 39 Hawks Player of the Game - SUREN UDAYAKUMAR 15pts/11rebs/1asts/1stl - 54.5% Shooting
HORNETS: Sonics get a much needed win beating the lowly Hornets. Zaid balled out as usual while GM VJ contributed with 6/8/1 and a steal doing whatever he can to push this team into the top 16. Zoobee still looks like he is on vacation and this team desperately needs him back if they want to make some noise this season. He can create, shoot and pass which is something the Sonics are lacking currently. Hornets have had a rough season but they have definitely battled and not given up in any game. Micheal Kim led the team in scoring with 14 and he has been sneaky good this season. Sonics get a huge matchup on Sunday against the Wolves.
Final Score: Sonics 49 - 39 Hornets Player of the Game - ZAID PAREKH 22pts/9rebs/3asts - 57% Shooting - 2 Triples
JAZZ: So if the Clippers have an extra gear to get to at anytime...what the heck do the Bobcats have? Like 3 extra gears? Dude, the game was tied at halftime 36 a piece...then they went bezerk in the 2nd half and dropped a 56 piece on the Jazz heads...insane! Went on a 6 minute stretch where they couldn't miss anything especially from long range. Clearly the frontrunners this season to hoist the trophy...who will even challenge them is the question. Best starting 5 in the league and not particularly close either. Jazz held tough and played hard nosed defence in the first half but let it slip in the 2nd half. They are missing a couple key contributors but no excuses at this point in the season. Let's see if they can bounce back in the next one.
Final Score: Bobcats 92 - 61 Jazz Player of the Game - MATTHEW CAMPBELL 19pts/9rebs/8asts/1stl/0to - 5 Triples
HEAT: So the Heat are banged up and played another game without some of their main guys...and the Bulls took full advantage of that. Gritty performance from the red squad as they made just enough plays to get past Nidun and company. Davion continues to carry the load as he dropped a game high 25 and he has been a terrific addition to the squad. Kajen has also been a sneaky good add as he was killing it on the boards and kept his team in it with all those offensive boards. If you are not going to shoot a high percentage...you better make sure you can get some offensive boards and keep plays alive which he did along with others on the team. Shang is the key however and he needs to play at his normal self eventually if the Bulls want to get deep into the playoffs. The Heat have done well all things considered (injuries and a really tough schedule)...so hopefully they can bounce back and get healthy soon to make a run.
Final Score: Bulls 42 - 37 Heat Player of the Game - DAVION PARNSALU 25pts/7rebs/1stl - 2 Triples
LAKERS: So not much of a game here as the Rockets just have too much talent compared to the Lakers. Roshane dominated and the rest of the team all contributed in this landslide. They will look to keep climbing the standings but they will have a tough test in the Spurs on Sunday. Lakers will have a chance to face a team that is actually lower in the standings than them (Blazers) and try and keep their postseason hopes alive.
Final Score: Rockets 64 - 38 Lakers Player of the Game - ROSHANE ROBERTS 23pts/5rebs/5asts/1stl/1to - 56% Shooting - 5 Triples
RAPTORS: Thunder finally get their first win of the season. They did it in fairly easy fashion as the Raptors couldn't hit the side of a barn in this one. Janath showed his 2 way skills and led the team like a true captain. They have their big in Abdullahi Hashi and he contributed 9 rebounds and to be honest he doesn't have to be special. He fixes one of their glaring weaknesses and now they look like a complete team that can do some damage. The Thunder field goal percentage is in the top 5 which is great but their 3pt% is 12th and that would be middle of the pack. With the capable shooters they have...I expect this to climb up and once they reach closer to top 5 then the league is in trouble. With Tristan and Janath, they have the ability to generate clean looks for their guys and now it's all about finding that rhythm. Thunder are trending up in a big way. Raps need to regroup asap before the season slips away from them. They have a couple new pieces and those guys will help but it might take some time to get the chemistry right.
Final Score: Thunder 57 - 25 Raptors Player of the Game - JANATH KUMAR 21pts/8rebs/4asts/3stls/1to - 64% Shooting - 3 Triples
SUNS: This was another great finish to a game this season. Nick Regis with a tough jumper with 6 seconds left to give the Suns the lead! Ben gets double teamed on the other end and eventually draws a questionable foul call. Needless to say the Suns were not happy about it. They got a little bit of justice as Ben hits only 1 of 2 and ties the game so we get to start fresh in overtime. All season long the Grizz have come up clutch down the stretch of games and this was no different as they held on for the 1 point victory. They have battled injuries and tough opponents but they never quit and Big Ben is putting on weekly show. They get a much needed rest this weekend and will look to finish the season strong afterwards. If their role players come through...then this team is super dangerous. Suns miss a glorious opportunity to get to 4-2 on the season and put themselves in a strong position to make the playoffs. They have actually played incredibly well considering they lost their franchise player (Dakoda Lewis). Let's see if they can continue to play as a team and pull of some suprises the rest of the season.
Final Score: Grizzlies 56 - 55 Suns Player of the Game - BEN OKYERE 32pts/8rebs/2asts/1stls/1blk/0to - 3 Triples
WARRIORS: King Duzan with another epic performance! Reigning MVP put the team on his shoulders and singlehandedly took out Dubs. Okay, Senthu and Nishan also did well combining for 11/22 and 27 points but the story of the game was 'Mr. 2 Way' as he was picking players up near halfcourt and just getting his hands on the ball constantly. They were actually trailing with 5mins left but the MVP would not be denied. Also, Nishan with a sneaky cut ot the basket and a big layup on a out of bounds play...just always into the game and showing why he is such an intelligent player. They were missing Nirsan and looked severely undersized at times but they gang rebounded and all pitched in to get the job done. Warriors have to hope their backcourt wakes up as they combined for 1 point! Let's see if they can bounce back in the next one.
Final Score: Kings 54 - 46 Warriors Player of the Game - DUZAN INDRASITHU 22pts9rebs/4asts/6stls/2blks/0to - 2 Triples
NETS: Knicks did their thing once again. Destroy a team in the first half and then just play on easy mode the rest of the way lol. All 8 guys scored on the team and it was a total team effort which is why I definitely do not want to face them in the playoffs. Ryan went off in this one and has shown why he is flat out one of the best shooters in the league. He gets to his spots and is always ready to let it fly. His teammates do a great job of finding him and trusting in his ability. Yannick also beasted and is one of the most versatile bigs in the league. He can guard smaller guys and bigger guys plus handle the ball and pass like a guard. The best thing about them is their chemistry...I thought the Clippers had the best chemistry in the league but I think I change my mind to the Knicks. They all pull for each other and get genuinely happy when each of them shine in the game. They all know each other's game and hang out off the court...sometimes it's the little things that make the biggest difference. Nets are battling for one of the last few playoff spots and it is going to be a tight finish for them. Let's see how they do versus the Heat on Sunday.
Final Score: Knicks 66 - 50 Nets Player of the Game - RYAN JAYASINGHE 23pts/1rebs/4asts/1stl/1blk - 5 Triples
SPURS: The Spurs finally lost a game but they played their tails off with the 5 guys that showed up. Pistons are a tough team for anyone but even tougher if the opposition is shorthanded. David balled out and was the x-factor in this one and if he can channel some of this energy for future games...the Pistons are going to be scary. Joe also played very well and hit 4 big time triples as he lit up the Spurs from the outside and this dude has such a nice shooting form (always looks like it's going in). The Pistons do their thing and now will get the Bobcats in what should be a fantastic game on Sunday. GM Vijay had it cooking in this one and tried to lead the comeback effort but ultimately they ran out of gas. Vijay dropped 20/7/6 and had his best game of the season thus far. They will need him to play at a high level if they want to hoist the trophy at the end of the season.
Final Score: Pistons 68 - 55 Spurs Player of the Game - DAVID INKUMSAH 17pts/13rebs/1asts/1to - 2 Triples
BLAZERS: Okay...finally....the Bucks have won a game. This team should not have been winless thus far based on what they brought as a team. They have chemistry and guys that can do different things on the court. They have underperformed and injuries never help but it's go time. No point in dwelling on the past as they definitely let some games slip including that first one all the way back in December when the Kings were playing with only 5 guys. They have work to do to get to a playoff level but this is a step in the right direction. Blazers fought tough and almost got the win. They have also had a tough season but credit to them for always playing hard and never giving up. Keethan put on a show with 25 points and he bounced back nicely after a rough game. They get the Lakers in the next one and we shall see if they can pull out a win.
Final Score: Bucks 48 - 43 Blazers Player of the Game - ARISH BRADLEY 12pts/6rebs/2asts/1stl- 50% Shooting