Week 7 is in the books and I managed to go a perfect 6 for 6 with my winner predictions!...16-2 on the year now (not bragging just stating facts!). Standings and stats are updated of course and we are getting close to the home stretch. Let's get right to it.
GRIZZLIES vs WARRIORS: This game saw a combined 142 points which is an all-time high in ETBL. Both teams shot the ball amazingly well from long range as they combined for 21 triples in this one. The Grizz ran out of gas in the second half however as they were playing with one sub only. The Warriors dropped a 50 piece on the Grizz in the second half! They ran them out the building with their transition offence as they capitalized on a bunch of turnovers by the Grizzlies. These two teams are going in the opposite direction and the Dubs have now won 4 in a row. Asok is solidifying his name in the MVP race with another awesome game...25 points and 9 rebounds on 60 percent shooting! He is now shooting over 53 percent on the year which is insane! Amit had his best game of the year and he is quietly heating up for his squad over the last few weeks. Jeffrey was the x-factor as he hit 4 triples and finished with 16 big points! He absolutely torched the Grizz for leaving him open and was very active on defence as he usually is. Anthony and Nisan both had 22 a piece. Nisan showed off his range as he hit 3 triples and looked confident taking them. Vimal went scoreless but had a career high 8 assists! The Grizz are currently out of the playoff picture and so they will need to pick up a big win soon. The Warriors are surging.
Final Score: Grizzlies 60 - 82 Warriors Player of the Game - Amit Sieukumar 20pts/7rebs/5asts/3stls - 2 Triples
RAPTORS vs TIMBERWOLVES: This game was a rollercoaster of emotions. The Twolves were without Manveer and Ragu while the Raps were without Saktish. Ragu still showed up to support his team and did some coaching on the side! The Twolves led 12 to 2 early on before the Raps fought back to take an 18 to 15 lead. They went back and forth and MVP candidate Thuva Sivasamy put his team on his back. There was noone from the Raps who could stop him as he put up an ETBL high for Season 3 with 38 points!! The Wolves led 48 to 37 but Athavan was forced to the sidelines as he picked up his 5th foul early in the second half. This meant that the Wolves would have no subs for the remaining 17 minutes and GM Suthan had to play a boatload of minutes lol. The Raps took advantage as Harrison also put his team on his back and dropped 31 points including 6 triples! That would normally guarantee 'player of the game' honors if it wasn't for the incredible game by Thuva. The Raps regained the lead 57 to 48 as they went on an incredible 20 to nothing run before Manish snapped it with a triple. The Wolves finished off the game going on a 20 to 4 run of their own even though they were gassed! Suthan could not even get up to talk during the timeout LOL, but he did have a clutch steal and outlet pass to Thuva who finished off the layup. A big opportunity was wasted by the Raptors. GM Thileep played very well as he was a handful for the Wolves on the inside and finished with 17 and 17 for a huge double double (50% shooting). A gutsy performance by the shorthanded Wolves and they can celebrate with their bye week coming up.
Final Score: Raps 61- 68 Twolves Player of the Game - Thuva Sivasamy 38pts/9rebs/2asts/5stls - 52% Shooting - 3 triples
NUGGETS vs BLAZERS: This was the feature game of the night as these two heavyweights slug it out. The Nuggets were without Chris Searles and Arun which sucked as we would have liked to see these two teams at full strength. The Blazers did not care of course and put on a passing clinic! Their ball movement was spot on this game and it got them great looks at the basket all night. This team looks extremely dangerous and with their gang rebounding...there aren't many weaknesses right now. NJ is probably the best 2 way player in the league and he has had no issues fitting in with this Blazers squad as their chemistry is just as good as any team currently. The Nuggets were led by Sen who dropped a season high 18 points on 50% shooting while Dwayne did a bit of everything with 8pts/13rebs/4asts and 6 steals! Both teams have good defenders but the Blazers were just a little more active tonight and were ready for this matchup. They are now 6-1 and sitting on top of the ETBL universe. GM Annojh has done a great job getting his team prepared and ready to play and is squarely in the GM of the Year conversation! The 'big 3' of Nishant, Vijith and NJ combined for 45 points and it is going to be a long night for opponents if all three have success. Koby had the play of the game as he backed down GM Ray in the post and hit a fade-away like...Kobe? It's a good time to be a Blazer fan.
Final Score: Nuggets 52- 64 Blazers Player of the Game - Vijith Nava 16pts/6rebs/4asts/3stls/0TOs - 4 triples
BULLS vs CELTICS: This game was a competitive one from the outset and the teams went back and forth for most of the game. The turning point could have been when Randy Cho landed on someone's feet and turned his ankle pretty badly. He had to exit the game and the Celtic's looked a little deflated at that point. But I give them alot of credit for still battling and almost trying to win the game for him. Umaraj and Abdul combined for 30 points in this one and they were a handful to deal with all night for the Bulls. They just made big shots in the late stages to keep the Bulls from stealing this game. Nishan flirted with another triple double as he had 11/8/7 but went an awful 3 for 11 from the free-throw line. There was a ton of points missed at the line from both teams as the Bulls missed 10 and the C's missed 14 freethrows. Nishan had a chance to tie the game with a triple at the buzzer but it was not meant to be. Jeron was solid with 16 points but could not get enough from the role players and the Bulls lose a tough hard fought battle. The win puts the C's in the 6th seed and they have now win 3 in a row. They will hope to have Randy back soon as he has been playing some great ball for them. GM Billal's team is .500 now but they have 5 games remaining and plenty of time to shore things up. They get the Grizz next in what should be a fun game.
Final Score: Bulls 41- 44 Celtics Player of the Game - Abdul Wahedi 13pts/15rebs/3asts/1stl/2blks/0TOs - 1 triple
PISTONS vs LAKERS: This game featured two teams fighting to move up in the standings. The Pistons were missing Sanam and Waseem but had both Usamah and PJ in the lineup for just the third time this season. The Pistons came out playing some inspired ball as they had their best first half of the season leading 24 to 15. GM Sugee was able to get Suhi involved on cuts and open shots as he dropped 10 points on 50% shooting. Sugee himself was 1 for 11 so it was probably best for him to play the facilitator role...or on the bench as a coach. The Lakers turned the ball over way too much and their 2 key players, LiShin and Sarwar, combined to go 2 for 24 with 7 turnovers! They did not quit however and turned up the intensity on defence in the second half. Ara hit some big shots to get them back into the game as they were down by 14 with 6 minutes to play (39 to 25). Up to this point it was an impressive game for the Pistons as they played a better style of ball and looked to be headed for an easy win. However, turnovers by the Pistons in the last 6 minutes caused them to choke this game away...especially Suhi and Usamah who did not take care of the ball late in this game. Usamah who was having a solid game up to this point...decides to dribble the ball between Ara's leg on 2 separate occasions lol...but Ara was not having any of that and did a great job of getting the ball from him. Then LiShin finds Shahriar in the corner for the big time triple in the dying seconds to take the lead and seal it for the Lakers. Huge win for the Lakers and we shall see if they can ride this momentum in their next game. An inexcusable loss for the Pistons after playing so well for most of the game! Going to be a tough one to recover from.
Final Score: Pistons 39- 41 Lakers Player of the Game - Ara Ehamparam 15pts/4rebs/3stls/0TOs - 2 triples
BULLETS vs JAZZ: The last game of the night provided unexpected theatrics in the late stages. The Jazz were just too good in the first half both offensively and defensively while the Bullets struggled to make shots. Jenush was big on the glass as he finished with 12 and kept alot of balls alive with his energy. They were able to drive and put pressure on the Bullets throughout the first half which gave them a 15 point lead at halftime. The second half was a completely different story as the Bullets picked up the pressure and started to full court press the Jazz which worked out very well. The Jazz coughed up the ball 14 times in this one which was the main reason the Bullets were able to fight back. GM Patrick did a great job of getting players subbed in and having them fresh in order for them to keep up their intensity and pressure. It's hard to press for as long as they did but the rotations certainly helped and everyone chipped in on the defensive end. Sam was great for the blue and white squad as he finished with 18 points and he was relentless at trying to get to the basket. He knows that is his strength and the Jazz had a tough time keeping him out of the lane. The Bullets fought hard to get the score close but they were down 2 with Yaga at the line...and Yaga ices the game with 2 clutch free-throws to make it 45 to 41 with less than 8 seconds to go...but this is where the unexpected happens...the Bullets inbound and get the ball up the floor to James in the far corner (you could hear all the Jazz players screaming not to foul the whole time after the inbound)...and somehow James makes the three point bomb while getting fouled by Zaid at the buzzer!!! A very poor decision by Zaid to even contest the shot when you are up by 4...yikes. So now Mr. James Arakill has to nail the 'and1' freethrow to send this game to overtime and continue this incredible comeback attempt...with no time on the clock it was just him and the basket...but unfortunately he was just a bit long on the attempt and the Jazz barely hold on for a tight victory. Wow.
Final Score: Bullets 44- 45 Jazz Player of the Game - Joseph Le 9pts/5rebs/2stls - 67% Shooting - 1 triple