The finals are upon us and we had 2 goliaths facing off against one another. These two teams were stacked with talent on paper but their chemistry has also been very evident throughout the season and the playoffs. We needed a 3rd and final game to decide Season 2's Championship! As for the All-Star Festivities; Sen took home the title of 3PT Contest Champ in a great finals against Anthony Joseph who just came up short...but he made up for it by taking home the All-Star Game MVP trophy as Team Thanu defeated Team Zayn by 3 points! Now time to discuss what happened in the finals so let's get to it.
WARRIORS: The Jazz came out hard and set a tone right from the start in game 1 of the finals. Yaga was defending Asok and Demone was guarding Paolo and so the Warriors were going to have to be careful with the ball...and well...they were not careful at all and had a bunch of turnovers in this one. The Jazz lead the league in steals and they had a total of 10 in this one with Zaid leading the way with 3. This caused the Warriors to tighten up and not move the ball around as much which totally goes against their style. Alot more isolation plays and jacking up shots rather than their patented ball movement which gets them much better looks. The Jazz are physical and tough and it was starting to rattle the Dubs throughout the game. The Jazz grinded out a 7 point lead at halftime and continued their defensive dominance in the second half only allowing 14 points in total. The Warriors weren't too bad either on the defensive end but missed shots and turnovers really did them in. This was their lowest scoring output of the season and it could not come at a worst time. Zaid was able to knock down the corner 3 which is usually the weakness of a 2-3 zone...Demone did a heck of a job finding him multiple times...one in transition...a couple in a drive and kick scenario...and a couple by moving the ball on the outside. Zaid did not hit all of them but he was getting good clean looks and knocked down three triples to jump out to an early lead. The Jazz were hype...they were loud...they were showing alot of emotion while the Warriors looked like they were not ready to sit down at the dinner table and eat. Game 1 was in the books but they still had an opportunity to regroup and show some fight and perseverance.
Final Score: Jazz 41 - 30 Warriors Player of the Game - Demone Lewis 10pts/5rebs/6asts/2stls/2TO
JAZZ vs WARRIORS: This was one heck of a game. I was expecting the same grind it out type of game where you will see a couple big plays like in game 1. But, boy was I wrong!. The most important thing I noticed was the attitude change from the Warriors...they were not going to be laid back anymore and this started with maybe the most calm cool person in the league...Mr. Paolo Vergara! He was energized from the get go and showed some fiery emotion which kind of transferred over to the rest of the team. Gopal was vocal...especially on defence...Asok was fist pumping and screaming stuff...finally the Dubs realized the magnitude of the game. There were not gonna be any more games after this...no do-overs...it was win or go home time and credit the men in orange for believing in themselves and bouncing back!. Paolo had only made 5 triples all year and only 1 max in any regular season game...but he made 3 big ones in this game!. He shot 43% from the free-throw line in the regular season with 5 being the most made...but how about 9 for 12 in this one! He was dishing dimes...hitting bombs...and scoring at will as he finished with 22 points and 5 assists!!. He and Asok combined for 40 points and really carried the Warriors offensively. Asok went 5 for 6 from long range and repeatedly burned the Jazz for giving him any type of space...and then you got Gopal who did the rest on defence as he gobbled up 19 boards and pitched in 12 points including some big putbacks. The 'big 3' were amazing and the Jazz had no answers...the Jazz did not have the same type of energy and obviously playing 2 games back to back is not easy...but it also felt like they let off the gas peddle a bit. Demone was incredible in this one and he did whatever he could to try and mount a comeback as he dropped a game high 25 points including 5 triples!!. He showed a ton of heart and does not stop coming at you regardless of the score. The Dubs also did a better job closing out on Zaid in the corners in this one and thus he went 0 for 7 from long range and was ineffective. The Warriors still had their turnovers but they were able to play their brand of basketball as they finished with 13 assists as a team. The Jazz were trailing for most of the game but they cut it down to 3 points in the second half and Demone had a wide open layup to cut it to one but he missed it!. The Warriors were bending but they did not break and finished off the rest of the game without much issue. It is only right that we get a game 3 as these two teams truly deserved to battle it out one more time...even though I have to bring back the trophies another week, drive back to the gym and do more stats n stuff LOL.
Final Score: Jazz 47 - 55 Warriors Player of the Game - Paolo Vergara 22pts/2rebs/5asts/1stl/2TO - 3 triples
WARRIORS: This was it...this was for all the marbles...both teams deserved to be here...but ultimately one will have to go home with no hardware. Both teams were given plenty of time to warm-up and talk strategy (due to scoreboard malfunction initially). This game had 3 main parts to it and all three parts featured a 10 point lead for the Jazz. That's right, on 3 separate occasions the Jazz built up and squandered a 10 point lead. But in the end the Warriors just wasted too much energy trying make up these deficits and ultimately fell short. Demone was the catalyst once again leading the team with 20 points including hitting 4 bombs from long range...he has not hit more than 2 in any regular season game this year but he seems to always come up huge in clutch moments. Big defensive plays and transition buckets...big time pass to Zaid for the dagger 3 late in the game...he has now won back to back championships with 2 different squads and has been name Finals MVP for the 2nd straight season! Speaking of Zaid...he was basically given away by Gautham to the Jazz as the Warriors GM believed he needed to give his other star players more shots/time on the court. You can't say it completely backfired on him as he still made the finals...but I guess it did backfire on him because he sent him to the team that would eventually beat him for the Trophy lol. Zaid made some clutch baskets in this one including 3 long range triples to really rub extra salt in the Warriors wounds. The Warriors did fight back to cut it to 3 points in the dying moments but an offensive foul call on Paolo was a backbreaker as he also fouled out on the play. Gopal, Paolo, and Asok combined to go 8 for 12 from three point range in game 2 but they only managed one triple in 15 attempts in game 3!. Credit the defence of both Demone and Yaga who were phenomenal against the Warriors offensive weapons (Paolo & Asok). Yaga made it to game 3 of the finals in season 1 and was unsuccessful but he made sure the same thing would not happen in season 2. Joseph got the starting job in this one for the Jazz and played his usual glue guy role and did a bit of everything. Congrats to GM Sayon and the rest of the Jazz on a terrific regular season and an even better playoffs. He had his team practicing consistently and you can see them gelling as the season progressed! GM Gautham also parlayed some draft day trades to make his team a powerhouse but in the end it might have been the smaller trade deadline deal that did him in...not only weakening his overall strength but increasing the over talent for the men in purple. Unbelievably entertaining finals and now the Jazz get to defend their crown and it won't take too long to get the action started as we tip off game 1 of Season 3 on Feb 25th! Thanks to everyone who made this season a huge success :)
Final Score: Jazz 49 - 42 Warriors Player of the Game - Demone Lewis 20pts/8rebs/4asts/2stls - 4 triples