The Semi-finals showcased 4 teams with varying degrees of talent but they all played extremely hard and deserved to get to this point. This is where the cream rises to the top and we see which teams will handle the pressure well. The All-Star Festivities are on Saturday January 20th at 6pm and we hope to see all of you there at the Logos Centre! We will kick things off with the 3 point contest, will have food, music, raffling prizes including a pair of Raptor tickets! (5$ for raffle tickets).
BLAZERS: Damn. I ain't talking Kendrick album, I'm talking about the whooping the Jazz gave the Blazers in the semis! The Blazers were the feel good story of the playoffs and they were on an emotional high after Vijith hit the shot of all shots against the Grizz (sorry to all the Grizz players for bringing that up again). The men in purple dropped a 31 spot in the first half in this one and then proceeded to smash them again in the second half hanging 37 on 'em. Great intensity and pressure by the Jazz as Zaid carried them early and Demone carried them througout. Most of the chatter was about Thanu and Zayn and what type of season they were having but Demone showed why he has the ability to be the best player in the league. He caused havoc when he got into the paint and then when they backed off...he hit some big time triples to really put this game out of reach. How about zero turnovers from a guy who has the ball alot in his hands and was making plays all over the place! He was too much for Ripcity in this one. Blazers got smacked in the face early and just couldn't regain their composure...lots of bad turnovers...bad shot attempts...and not enough unity like we are generally used to seeing from them. It was one of their worst games of the year and it came at a terrible time. Credit the Jazz for playing at a fast pace and being active on defence which really hampered the Blazers ball movement and they were forced to settle for long shots and did not get many clean looks close to the rim. GM Annojh did a great job building the team chemistry throughout the season and this team improved gradually. Will he draft the same type of team again and bank on more chemistry or will he make some adjustments to try and make up for some of their deficiencies. The Jazz get the Warriors in what should be an epic finals with 2 teams that have a lot of talent. Both teams like to play at a high pace and both teams can defend in different ways. Very intriguing matchups and we shall see who comes out as our Season 2 Champs!
Final Score: Jazz 68 - 41 Blazers Player of the Game - Demone Lewis 25pts/7rebs/5asts/4stls/0TO - 2 triples
PISTONS: These were 2 of the strongest teams in the league and they would have to battle it out in order to reach the ETBL finals. The first half was a back and forth affair as neither team had more than a 4 point lead. The second half started with a 4 point play by Saktish! to give the Dubs an early lead. Saktish is 8th in the league in 3 pointers made and so you can understand why the Pistons needed to close out fast...but amazing concentration by the sniper. Then Paolo with a great feed for a layup by Asok and then a great drive by Paolo on the next drive and now the Warriors were playing their game and really giving the Pistons trouble. The Warriors make some of the best passes in the league including their GM Gautham who made a couple nifty ones that led to layups for his team. Asok and Paolo also do a great job of finishing around the rim and they combined to go 10 for 16 from the field which was impressive to say the least. Paolo missed the quarter finals and thus he has not played in a long time but he looked pretty sharp and this team is dangerous when they have all their pieces. Eventually Johan makes a shot to push the lead to 13 in the second half (40-27) and it looked like the Pistons were cooked...but they called a timeout and settled things down before going on a bit of a run themselves. Sugee hit 4 triples on the night for the blue team and the rest of the team started to play better as they cut the lead to 6 and had a chance to get it to 3 but Usamah barely missed a three pointer from the top of the arc. The bigs for the Pistons had some looks inside but Javan and Thileep combined to go 3 for 15 as the zone usually collapsed on them in the paint and made it as tough as possible. Once again the Warriors play the best zone in the league and we will see how it fairs against the Jazz. The Jazz are at the bottom of the league in 3pt percentage but they are going to have to make some triples against this type of defence. The Warriors have fought through a tough schedule including playing in the wildcard game but they have shown they are legit and deserved to be a higher seed. As for the Pistons, they had all the pieces to make a run but in the end they get gunned down in the semi-finals. They actually forced 20 turnovers from the Dubs which gave them a ton of extra shot attemtps but they just could not hit any shots to punish them for it. We shall see if GM Sugee goes with same 'Run N Gun' strategy or switches it up...speed walk and talk?...jog and clog?...slow and blow?!? Okay, I'll stop before it becomes a running joke...
Final Score: Warriors 47 - 39 Nuggets Player of the Game - Gopal Narasimhaiah 9pts/15rebs/1ast/2stls/1blk