Week 10 is in the books. We are edging closer towards the end of the season and it has been an incredible ride thus far. Just walking in and seeing 3 courts packed with action and the spectators watching...it is definitely a fun environment. Shout out to all the people who helped out on Sunday! (Thanujaan, Vishnu, Lewmar, Randy, Gohulan, Sarjun, Juren, Puvi, Wilbert, Chris D, Brett, Javed, Anson and my 9 yr old son lol). I'm sure I am forgetting someone lol but appreciate everyone's efforts to make this the best league in the city! Pretty amazing to see random players from other leagues or runs stop by and ask me questions about ETBL and how they can join. Humbled by it all. Now enough of that sappy talk. Let's get down to business.
BOBCATS: Speaking of humbled...the Bobcats have finally been dealt a loss and it looked like it was an amazing intense game between these two goliaths. I mean there were definitely more than 2 goliaths as the sheer size of some of these men is crazy and they definitely use their height and length to their advantage. First half the Bobcats controlled the pace and held an 8 point lead. Seemed like it was going to be another routine victory for the Cats but the best trait the Pistons have is their IQ and ability to stick to their game plan and never get hurried or rushed. Some teams might have resorted to shoot a bunch of threes or take quick shots to try and make up deficits but the Pistons just continued to play their zone defence, move the ball and finish around the rim. Kendell was dynamite in transition and Shaun made a huge difference in the interior as he finished with 12/9/3. Joe started their 2nd half push with a triple which really got them going. Mike was Mike with another double double but their x-factors like Adrian Leclair came up huge as he dropped 15 points on 8 shots! (He has one of the smoothest strokes in the league as well just would love to see him show it off more). The Bobcats are still sitting pretty at the top of the standings but we did see a little bit of dysfunction creeping in for the first time this season. Maybe that was also another difference, was the fact that the Pistons have known each other for years and played with each other for a long time...while the Cats look like really solid pieces that were put together by GM Omar but maybe the chemistry might not be there. Let's see if this is something worth monitoring or just a one-off.
Final Score: Pistons 75 - 67 Bobcats Player of the Game - KENDELL WILSON 24pts/4rebs/2stls/0to - 55% Shooting - 2 Triples
BUCKS: Mr. Janath Kumar is looking like he is getting healthy and slowly dominating the competition. What a difference a few weeks make and now the Thunder are rolling. Tristan bullied his way inside and dropped buckets while also distributing and playing solid defence. He definitely seems like a jack of all trades and does whatever the team needs to succeed. Those are very special players indeed. We had a bit of a scare at the beginning of the game when Abdullahi fainted after fasting all day. After speaking with him it looked like he was doing okay and mentioned he has played while fasting all the time before and this has never happened to him. Hopefully he is fully recovered and wish him the best for the rest of Ramadan. There are quite a bit of players who are fasting this month and I can only imagine how tough that is to do and play ball afterwards at a high level. The first half was very competitive and the Bucks came to play but the 2nd half was all Thunder. Janath was raining in 3s and Cam also joined in to help his teammate out. The Thunder are officially in the playoff picture holding down the last playoff spot and they will look to move up in the standings on Sunday.
Final Score: Thunder 88- 61 Bucks Player of the Game - TRISTAN FRANCISCO 19pts/5rebs/9asts/2stls - 61.5% Shooting
SPURS: Spurs were facing a tough Rockets squad and unfortunately they were not able to make enough shots early on to stay within reach of them. Rockets moved the ball extremely well and I think that is the most impressive thing about their team is the amount of solid passers they have. They don't have a natural point guard but when you have alot of vets with ball IQ...you sometimes do not need one. All the way through their roster they are solid and everyone can sub into the game and make an impact which is rare. The Spurs also have that ability but on this night the Rockets proved to be too much. Starting with Tobi who hit a couple bombs and made his presence felt with his passing and defence. Roshane then said...let me find my spots and cash in...and he certainly did that with a game high 22. I don't think anyone makes tougher 'and1' baskets then he does in the league. He hasn't forced the issue and has played extremely well within the offence. Roshane has obviously played high level organized ball for years but it is easy to dismiss that and play extremely isocentric in a rec league such as ours...but credit to him as he knows that is easier to defend by the opposition and probably won't result in a chip. Gopal was the lone bright for the white squad as he came in drilling three point bombs and trying to keep it respectable but it was not enough in this one. The Spurs will look to get healthy and make a final push as we head towards the end of the regular season.
Final Score: Rockets 51 - 40 Spurs Player of the Game - TOBI OJAJUNI 10pts/11rebs/3asts/3stls/1blk - 66.6% Shooting - 2 Triples
WARRIORS: Bulls keep finding ways to close out games and on a day where they didn't have Davion...it was definitely impressive to say the least. Tes turned back the clock and put up a game high 21 and showed he still has alot left in the tank. If he can continue to make high quality plays and be the x-factor then this team will have a chance to do some real damage. Alot of the attention will be on Davion and Shang and so he will have the opportunity to find gaps in the defence to take advantage. Paul and Kajen were also solid chipping in 9 each and this team is now 5-1 on the season and they haven't really had a full team together for any particular game. The Warriors just can't seem to close out games or make a big play when it matters...they will face the Thunder this weekend and another chance to make a statement and end their 3 game losing streak.
Final Score: Bulls 54 - 48 Warriors Player of the Game - TES ANTON 21pts/8rebs/1ast/3stls/1to
RAPTORS: Knicks put on a show again and are having alot of fun as usual. We all know Zach is a high flyer but he outdid himself in this one with a poster alley-oop dunk (great feed from Ryan). We have definitely never seen a play like that in ETBL in six seasons and needless to say the place was buzzin. Then they tried some thru-the-leg off the backboard alley-oop but Zach just missed that one which woulda also brought down the house. They have pretty much become a must watch team as they are so deep and will challenge you defensively with their full court traps. They forced the Raps into 18 turnovers and alot of them were live ball turnovers so they would just come back in transition and punish you for it (Zach definitely did that as mentioned before). The Raps only had 5 guys show up and I don't think any team in the league could beat this Knicks squad if you don't have any subs. They are too energetic and trap too much and so it will be a long night for any squad that is shorthanded. 5 guys with at least 12 points (Jonathan, Tevon, Kap, Ryan and Zach) for the Knicks and they look to keep it going against the Bulls on Sunday. Akin was a beast for the Raps with 24pts 17rebs 3asts and 3stls on 71% shooting!! Tah'j has been a solid pickup for them as he drilled 3 triples but they just need to get their full squad to show up and compete.
Final Score: Knicks 68 - 57 Raptors Player of the Game - ZACHARY VIDAL-HENRY 16pts/11rebs/2asts/5stls/1blk
BLAZERS: Lakeshow finally showed us that they can compete and put up numbers and even though it was against the Blazers who were missing guys...it was still a nice sight to see. Hasan carried the offensive load and showed his skills driving to the basket. He can maneuver around defenders and finishes pretty well near the basket and his teammates like Lewmar and Vishnu found him in the right spots to succeed. Lew kept his team together and played some point guard while Somi was missing and did a great job of settling the team down and making unselfish plays. Vishnu did a little bit of everything as he has taken over the Draymond Green role and finished with 12pts/10rebs/7asts/2stls and no turnovers! All the other guys chipped in a couple baskets as well and held it down defensively in the 2nd half to close the deal. Blazers had a big double double from Ganesh (17pts and 11rebs) but they needed more firepower and were not able to come up with it in this one.
Final Score: Lakers 59 - 44 Raptors Player of the Game - HASAN CHAUDHARY 21pts/6rebs/3asts/1stl
SUNS: Clips take care of business against the Suns and have now won 2 in a row and take some momentum going into Sunday against the Spurs. Javed showed off his elite shooting ability with a quiet 22 points and if you did not know before...you should definitely be within arms length of him at all times. James Forrester had 19 and these two will be counted on heavily down the stretch of this season and going into the playoffs. The Suns are fading and looked disorganized for the most part. They are undersized but still have enough talent to compete in the league. Let's see if they can bounce back against the Sonics.
Final Score: Clippers 55 - 40 Suns Player of the Game - JAVED AHMAD 22pts/8rebs/2asts/5stls - 50% Shooting - 4 Triples
WOLVES: JEROY! JEROY! JEROY! Talk about comin up clutch in one of the biggest games of the season. Mr.Williamson had a couple big time shots whenever the game seemed to be getting away from the Sonics and he literally might have saved their season. Zaid finally had an off night (4 points only) and everyone else seemed sluggish and it would have been easy to fold at any point in the 2nd half but Jeroy would not let that happen. Pesky on defence, trying to get a hand on everything and just was shot ready and did not hesitate to take and make the biggest shots of the game. They had a nice 10 point lead with about 12 minutes left in the game and that seemed like a 25 point lead the way both teams were struggling to make baskets. The Wolves made one last push with their new guy Michael Mines and he proved to be the real deal as he made everything easier on the court for the others. Him and Angelo made big buckets down the stretch and showed alot of grit and determination...eventually tieing the game at 35 a piece with little time left in the game. Ultimately, the turnovers cost them in the 2nd half and taking a tech at the worst possible time also did not help. They have put themselves in a hole and might need to win their last 3 to put themselves in the playoff picture.
Final Score: Sonics 39 - 35 Wolves Player of the Game - JEROY WILLIAMSON 18pts/7rebs/1ast/2stls - 54.5% Shooting - 2 Triples
NETS: Shorthanded were the Heat with only 5 guys. GM Witness was forced into action playing 42 minutes without a breather...he and guys like Mau did a great job on the boards to give the Heat additional opportunities and they definitely took advantage in this one. Mau was 5 stars in the hustle category as he made a big impact on the game. Anthony led the charge the whole game and this was one of the best games I have seen him play on both ends of the court. Considering how much energy he had to use on offence...he still put in alot of work on the defensive end just getting a hand on all the passes the Nets would throw. Just a super impressive game and this was the prime Anthony I was talking about earlier in the season. Just not much you can do when he attacks with purpose and plays disruptive defence on the other side. Nidun with a fancy 15/12/12 triple double as he just knew where Anthony would be and when to feed him the ball. He is definitely one of the best on court leaders in the league and he showed that in this one as he kept encouraging his guys and putting them in positions to succeed. Nets struggled to contain Anthony and consistently gave him open 3 point looks and just couldn't handle him in transition. Let's see if they can bounce back in the next one.
Final Score: Heat 61 - 46 Nets Player of the Game - ANTHONY 'CASPER' JEYAKANTHAN 35pts/4rebs/5asts/6stls - 5 Triples
JAZZ: "Who is the MVP again" the Jazz asked. The scorer's table shouted out..."number 2". "Really, number 2?" the Jazz replied..."YES, TRUST US...NUMBER 2" we shouted back lol...and boy did Duzan not let us down with a rediculous game where he was the best offensive player and best defensive player on the floor. Can't really say much more than what we already have about this dude but just controlled the tempo and knew when to faciliate, when to attack, and when to play off ball. Then the amount of energy he spends on defence is crazy as he put up 3 steals and 3 blocks! They did not ever let the Jazz take a big lead and just responded to every run the Jazz had. Jovan showed up at halftime and made an immediate impact but it was not enough. Tristan went off for 26 points but the defence was the issue for the Jazz. After starting off hot,they have lost 2 in a row and have fallen to 10th in the standings. They will make the playoffs but they are losing some confidence and momentum going into it. Maybe the bye week will set them straight and they can finish strong. Nirsan with a big game for the Kings as well with 20 points as this was his best game of the season and we will see if he can build off of it as well.
Final Score: Kings 74 - 65 Jazz Player of the Game - DUZAN INDRASITHU 26pts/8rebs/8asts/3stls/3blks - 52% Shooting