WRITTEN BY: STEPHEN A. KELLERMAN
Alright folks, I have been given the task of writing these week 2 recaps (maybe as a punishment for not doing week 2 predictions...geez). I didn't want to give my predictions on the weekend as I needed more information first about some of these squads. Szn 7 has a ton of new players and a few completely new squads and so I wanted to survey the landscape first. Yes, the Commish gives me as much info as possible but he is a busy guy and he cannot completely keep up with everything. With that being said I will have a predictions blog out for Sunday as we have 6 games on tap. But all I care at the moment is discussing the events of week 2. There was a lot of commotion during and after the Clips/Thunder game and we shall break that down further below. I was able to go back and watch the footage of the game the Commish provide me which we will have on our youtube page (ETBL2K). The gym doesn't give you many options to mount the gopro and thus they have to use the corner angle to get as much of the floor as possible. They are going to continue to set it up on Court 2 where most of the games happen and so you may be blessed with that. Enough long talking. Let's get to work.
HAWKS: What a comeback by the young buck Cavs after starting off really slow. Ryan Northcott makes a putback late in the first half to make it 17 to 7 and it looked like it could be a long night for the Cavs. Then it was time for Mr. Rose Shipley to turn up and he certainly did that by pretty much doing everything on the floor. Get the rebounds, get the assists, drive and drop buckets on the Hawks. He was a one man wrecking crew to get them back in it. They actually tied it at 25 a piece and momentum was on their side but the Hawks got some timely offensive rebounds and made some nice plays on offence. Yanick and Omar played solid while Frankie had some nice dimes in the 2nd half. They pushed to lead up to 12 (38 to 26) and just when we thought the Cavs were done...Maz makes a big play (steal and bucket)...Rose makes a putback...Jaathus hits a tough 3...Abhi makes a great defensive play...and all of sudden we got a game once again. Then when it was all on the line...17 year old Jaathus says 'night night' with his 4th triple of the game (46-50). Great resiliency. Great effort. Cavs showed a ton of heart in the season opener. Hawks played well for the most part and they just gotta clean up some mistakes and not let up when they have the lead. They are going to have to do it as a team.
Final Score: Cavaliers 50 - 46 Hawks Player of the Game - ROSE SHIPLEY 20pts/10rebs/4asts/2stls/1blk/1to - 58% Shooting
BOBCATS: Wow. The Raptors are for real. I don't care that it was game 1 or the fact that the Bobcats might have been missing a couple key guys so they were essentially playing with no bench. A win against the champs is no easy task regardless of the situation. Tyrell played really well and I still think he is shaking off some rust so that is scary for the rest of the league. He received most of the attention from the champs and so he was able to find his teammates and really give them great looks. The Popalzai brothers combined for 15 points and their ability to space the floor is paramount for this Raps squad. They have great size and IQ which is exactly what GM Gogs wanted. Murtaza hit a clutch three in the late stages to put this game to bed and he will be an x-factor all season. The Bobcats quickly realized this season ain't going to be like last year. They gotta come focused and be prepared for everyone's best shot. They did not play terrible but the defence around the rim was lacking and the size of the Raps gave them issues all game. I think they bounce back in a big way next game.
Final Score: Raptors 59 - 54 Bobcats Player of the Game - TYRELL LEOTAUD 16pts/8rebs/5asts/2stls/1blk - 2 Triples
NETS: The new look Kings made quick work of the new look Nets. The Kings have a deep roster and at anytime someone could step up for them and have a special performance. Gajen was able to do that in this one as he looked like a man possessed. He was much more aggressive than last year and it really impacted the game early on. It might have been the stache that gave him extra powers. Let's see if he can keep it going which would make this team extremely dangerous. Damion made his ETBL debut and it was a good one. He can handle the rock and grab boards like a big and so his versatility was on display. He can definitely put pressure on defences and when Mithun suits up for them...that will be a nice backcourt combo. Craig was great on defence while Amit and Chris chipped in on offence. It may be hard for some of these guys to get into a rhythm if they are surrounded by so many solid players but it is a good problem to have. If they can find their niche and their roles on the team...the Kings could suprise the league. The Nets looked a little lost but overall they have improved from last year and I expect them to continue to get better as their chemistry improves. Dustin had a really off night shooting but his shot form looked good and he was able to get into the lane quite a bit and it looks like he will need to be a key piece for them. Shabir had some really nice passes which got his team some easy looks and he was one of the lone bright spots for the Nets.
Final Score: Kings 55 - 38 Nets Player of the Game - DAMION DAVIS 12pts/14rebs/5asts/2stls/1blk - 54% Shooting
CLIPPERS: Yes, the score is correct. The Thunder scored more points in the 2nd half (47) than the Clippers did the entire game. So, WTF happened. Well, the Clippers were missing Javed who is an integral part of their team and he will be relied upon to space the floor and tighten up the chemistry on the floor. But the way they got slapped up...it wouldn't have mattered in this game. Now, the bigger question is how did the Commish allow such a stacked team into the league? Just wrap up the god damn season now. Hand them the trophy. There is no way any team is beating them. They will go undefeated in the regular season and it will take a herculean effort in the playoffs for someone to defeat them. They have 4 guys that are at least 6'5...F*ck is this the NBA? Yes, I was a fan of the Thunder all last season because they were struggling at the beginning and then once they added Hashi they pretty much went undefeated with him until the finals which they barely lost in triple overtime. They had a strong team but they still had to earn everything and showed a lot of heart playing shorthanded in the finals against the stacked team of season 6 (Bobcats). Now, they coulda made some tweaks and just ran it back with the same core but instead Janath and company decided to call Raptors 905 and recruit some guys from there. Justin is an effin tank...I don't know what type of zone to play on him...maybe a box around him and pray zone...or a 2-6 zone. Man, if I have to take a charge against him and I survive...I would be screaming Alhamdulillah right after. Then you have Nabil who is 6'6 and can shoot, handle the rock, and glide through the air. Just adding Hashi got them to the finals so they decided to clone him and get another similar player...SMH. Losing that finals must have really hit the Thunder hard and they decided to stack the deck in Season 7. So, now I have to hate on them and they are the official villains of ETBL...even though they seem like they have some really respectful nice guys on their squad. Now the rest of the league should do whatever it takes to improve their roster. Go find a 6'10 guy...go find ex-pros...dammit go find a pro! Maybe practice everyday and work on running some elaborate offences. I still don't think that will be enough. Camren balled out in this one and he is not supposed to be technically apart of their 'big 3' which goes to show how much talent is oozing on this roster. I mean Justin is coming off the bench for goodness sake. Richard had 15 points and shot just 70% from the field plus decided to donate a measly 13 rebounds to the game...On the Clippers side, Ajahmo Clarke who is an OCAA legend made his ETBL debut and played great (21 points on 50% shooting) but he wasn't able to get any help from his teammates who were more busy trying to stir it up with the Thunder rather than trying to just play basketball. Former MVP Kris was bothered constantly by the length of the Thunder and was held to 4 points. So, like I said already...Thunder Season 7 Champions. Everyone else playing for 2nd place right now. Just make a 2nd place trophy so there is still some suspence and excitement left for the rest of the season...at least do something right Commish! Okay in all fairness, Kisho did not do anything wrong as this was suppose to be more of an 'A Division' as he preps for a 'B Division' later. The Thunder did not violate any real rules and kudos to them for getting guys that were not only good but had size which is not an easy combination to get. I know a part of his mission which he talks about all the time is to have the most balanced competitive league that is different from the others. I think that is extremely difficult to do as teams will naturally be stronger and weaker no matter what but he did a great job for the most part...just dropped the ball on the Thunder lol. The organization and attention to detail is still elite and I respect that heavy. Okay, I only praised him so I won't have to do more recaps in the future.
Final Score: Thunder 76 - 41 Clippers Player of the Game - CAMREN KORHANI 18pts/8rebs/2asts/3stls - 58% Shooting - 4 Triples