Week 6 had a mix of great games and not so great games. We had our first forfeit of the season and it actually happened during the second half which is a first for ETBL. A shout-out to Athi and Wilbert for helping with scoreboard/shotclock duties!!! Now let's get right to it.
BULLETS vs BLAZERS: The Bullets looked to rebound after their first loss of the season and regain some respect from the league...and the commishioner :). However, the Bullets were not fully loaded and ready to go as they got blown away early by the Blazers. After a Nishant triple, the lead was pushed to 21 to 6 halfway thru the first half! This was previously followed by long range bombs from NJ and Vijith as the Blazers looked to be in a different class than the Bullets in this one. Blazers did well to force turnovers and that was the biggest factor in the first half. The Bullets had 17 turnovers for the game which really limited their opportunities on offence. They played alot better in the second half and the ball movement was much better as well. They unfortunately dug too big of a hole and was not able to recover as Ripcity cruised to victory. The Blazers continue to do a great job of gang rebounding with at least 6 players recording a minimum 3 rebounds. Vijith and Nishant combined for 29pts and 5 for 10 from long range! The x-factor was Nathies as he hit all three of his shots and continues to play his role and contribute which just makes this team even more dangerous. Tharu bounced back for the Bullets with 15 points on 50% shooting while Javan led the way with 17. Sam also had a solid game with 12 points and chipped in with 2 steals and a block. James could not find his range in this one but played some solid defence and moved the ball effectively in the 2nd half. The hot start from the Bullets to start the season seems to be a distant memory now and they will need to regroup and right the ship. Blazers look like a true contender (Annojh paid me to say that lol).
Final Score: Bullets 49 - 60 Blazers Player of the Game - NJ Krishna 17pts/7rebs/6asts/5stls - 54% Shooting - 3 Triples
PISTONS vs JAZZ: There has only been one forfeit in ETBL history which occurred in Season 1 (Spurs) and now we officially got our second one by the Pistons. They started the game with only 5 guys and one of them pulled a hamstring (Suhi) in the second half which resulted in them having only 4 players available. The score was 29-21 for the Jazz at this point and they will automatically be awarded a 25 to 0 victory due to the forfeit. The Pistons actually played a very good first half and was up 14 to 7 at one point. Almost every player hit a triple for the Pistons and Sugee hit 3 of them to make things interesting in the first half. Demone did not arrive until there was 2mins left in the first half and thus the Jazz struggled to score without him. Sanam played very well manning the centre position for the Pistons and gobbled up all the loose balls. Jazz started to get back on track once Demone was there and the forfeit probably saved us from seeing a slaughter in the second half...Pistons would have probably lost by more than 25...I am going to forfeit from writing anymore about this game...
Final Score: Pistons 0 - 25 Jazz Player of the Game - Jenush 6pts/4rebs/1stl - 100% Shooting
LAKERS vs RAPTORS: The Raps were coming off a couple losses and needed a bounce back win to get back on track. The Lakers were without Sarwar but still had plenty of firepower in the starting lineup to make this a competitive game. The Raps played a great first half especially defensively as they forced some turnovers from the Lakeshow. Somi and Thileep were at the forefront of this as they combined for 8 steals and led the way for the Raps. Somi now leads the ETBL in steals and has really done a great job applying pressure on the other teams guards as he has routinely started picking them up from halfcourt. As things got close in the 2nd half (35 to 33)...The Raps went on a huge 17 to 2 run fueled by some offensive boards which led to some big time triples. There was also a sick 'pick n roll' play by Harrison and Thileep which got some oohs and ahhs from the crowd! I still don't understand why they don't try and run more of these plays with Thileep as the roll man...it should always be apart of the repertoire for the Raps. While this run was happening...the Lakers were more focused on not getting calls from the refs which also led to a tech for GM Rahul. He was seen high jumping on the sidelines and that was enough to get him T'd up! Rahul is used to his share of techs but he has to be smarter about when he gets them as this contributed to the momentum changing run by the Raps. Athi hit 3 triples and Mayuran had 5 assists as both were x-factors for the red squad. Brendan had a double double and also chipped in 2 steals and 3 blocks!! LiShin had an impressive 12pts, 7rebs, and 7assists as he continues to play solid for the Lakers. The Raps played better on this night and deserved the win as they were shorthanded with only one sub. The turnovers and failing to box out on a few plays was the difference in this one for the Lakeshow (not the referees!).
Final Score: Lakers 45 - 53 Raptors Player of the Game - Somi Ravin 14pts/6rebs/1asts/5stls - 2 Triples
GRIZZLIES vs CELTICS: Two solid teams go at it in this one but one team played a little more like a team and it ultimately made the difference. For the Grizz, it was the give the gun to Anthony and let him shoot game...it didn't work early on as he took some questionable long range bombs but it did get them back in the game in the second half as he hit 5 triples in total. Speaking of passing the gun off...looks like GM Vimal gave him all his bullets as well as he only took 3 shots in this game! He is only attempting 7 shots per game this season which is almost half of what he averaged in Season 1. He is still helping in other areas of the game but they will definitely need his offence if they want to make some noise this season. For the C's, they got a big time performance from Randy Cho who was highly effective on both ends of the floor. He got deflections and stepped up in the passing lanes to cause havoc for the Grizz. He and Umaraj combined for 40 points in this game and they were able to secure the "W" for the green squad. The Celtics are 3-0 when Randy scores in double figures and 0-3 when he does not! The Grizz are clinging to the last wildcard spot and they have been a dissapointment this season as they are still trying to find an offensive identity. There is still lots of blame going around and the usual pointing fingers at each other...the Jazz went thru a similar stretch early on in Season 2 and they obviously turned it around and won the championship...so there is still hope for this talented Grizzlies squad. Celtics seem to be playing with a lot of confidence and having Jey back in the lineup has done wonders for the squad as he has given them quality minutes from the Centre position.
Final Score: Pistons 0 - 25 Jazz Player of the Game - Randy Cho 19pts/7rebs/3asts/5stls/1TO - 2 Triples
SPURS vs BULLS: The heartbreak of the night goes to the young Spurs as they blow a 44 to 23 lead and lose to the Bulls...jeez. The first half was incredible for the grey team as they just destroyed the zone defence by the Bulls. They ran the same exact play as Roy got the ball to Dylan for three straight triples to start the game...it looked like we were watching a replay as Dylan would calmly bang home triple after triple. He had a career high 24 points and has proven he can be a lethal shooter if you give him any sort of space. The Bulls give up 42 points in the first half to the winless Spurs team and it looked like it would be a long night for GM Billal. But everything changed in the second half as they switched things up and went to man defence (about time!). The Spurs were not getting the same looks and were forcing shots...and when things started gettting close...they went back to their ISO ball and this had the Bulls smelling blood in the water. They went on a incredible run led by Nishan who was extremely vocal throughout the game and got his team to play at a high level. He ended up dropping a big time 'triple double' which is a rare feat in ETBL to say the least! He consistently found Jeron for the corner 3 and Jay was absolutely clutch in this one. He dropped 24 points on 10 of 19 shooting including 4 triples! The Bulls returned the favor and dropped 42 points in the second half against the Spurs and held them to only 16 in this period. Incredible comeback and you gotta feel for the Spurs as it looked like they were finally going to get their first win of the season :( but they will have a chance to regroup with the upcoming bye week. The Spurs were also without Vino which meant they only had one sub and you could tell they ran out of gas and the pressure by the Bulls was too much for them.
Final Score: Spurs 58 - 65 Bulls Player of the Game - Nishan Thurai 13pts/15rebs/10asts/4stls
TIMBERWOLVES vs NUGGETS: This was a matchup of two heavyweights and they both came to battle in the last game of the night! They went back and forth in the first half and were tied at half-time...second half was much the same but the Wolves had a 8 point lead after a big time triple by Manveer with only 8 minutes left to go in the game. The Nuggets never gave up tho and battled back with some big shots of their own and Sen nailed a triple to cut the lead to 1 with 4 minutes to go. In the dying moments...Mr. Dwayne Lubin had a big 'and1' putback to seal it for the yellow team. Both teams had 3 players in double figures and it was a very good game by both squads as it had a playoff vibe to it. Manveer who was guarded by Arun...they went at it with the trash talk which really seemed to get Manveer pumped up as he was not afraid to let it fly in this one and hit 4 bombs (finished with 19 points). Athavan was a force defensively for the Twolves with 5 huge rejections and also passed the ball very well out of the post to his teammates. Ragu was missing for the Wolves as he was out with a mysterious injury...GM Suthan would not comment further on it...hopefully not a Kawhai Leonard situation lol. These two teams seemed destined to get a top 6 seed and would love to see them go at it again in the playoffs as it was a very entertaining game. Both GM's have high IQ's and are always into the game which just adds another layer to this potential rivalry. For now, the Nuggets get the best of the Wolves and will look forward to a tough matchup with the Blazers while the Twolves get the Raps!
Final Score: Timberwolves 53 - 56 Nuggets Player of the Game - Dwayne Lubin 15pts/9rebs/2asts/1stl/1blk - 2 triples
-Kisho Jeyaseelan (Commissioner)