Week 8 had some upsets, some statement games, and a history making game. The last day of the regular season is May 27th and thus we are entering the home stretch! There is still lots left to be determined and the playoff push will be an exciting one. Let's get right to it.
CELTICS vs NUGGETS: This was suppose to be a very good matchup to start off Sunday evening. Unfortunately for the C's, we learned that Randy Cho will be out for awhile with a severe ankle sprain and we wish him a speedy recovery! He has played a big role for the C's especially in their victories...but this gives other players a chance to step up in his absence and more will be required from their dynamic duo of Abdul and Umaraj. Trevor was out for the Nuggets. Early on the C's took advantage inside and moved the ball fairly well. Jasinthan is one of the players who must step up in Randy's absence and he did exactly that by dropping 18points including 3 triples! This was the Jas we saw in Season 2 as he took home the 'Most Improved Player Award'. They also got a great performance from Jey who held down the paint for his team on defence. He finished with 14 rebounds, 1 steal and 4 huge blocks!! Unfortunately it was a tough second half for the green team as the Nuggets did a great job of hitting their 3s led by Sen who hit some clutch ones down the stretch to seal it. Even GM Ray chipped in with 2 triples as his team moved the ball much better in the 2nd half and closed out the game strong. They also played some tough defence on Umaraj and Abdul who struggled from the field. If it was not for the 4 for 16 from the freethrow line...the Nuggets could have really won by a huge margin.
Final Score: Celtics 43 - 50 Nuggets Player of the Game - Sen Thayalaseelan 14pts/11rebs/0TO's- 3 Triples
SPURS vs BULLETS: Two teams looking for a victory to get themselves on track as the Bullets had lost 3 in a row and the Spurs...well, we know how tough it has been for them to pull out a victory. This game was a rough one to say the least. Lots of turnovers by both teams...lots of freethrows missed (especially Spurs)...and lots of missed shots. The Bullets were just able to crawl to the finish line before the Spurs. The Spurs did have a full team for once as Nisanthan a.k.a 'ICU' who has been officially ruled out due to a previously torn ACL has been replaced by newcomer Ajevan Kailayanathan. Thus, there should be no excuses with being gassed and playing shorthanded...JT had some boards...Dylan made some shots...but other than that...nothing really worked for the Spurs. They did a great job of getting to the line a whopping 23 times! but only managed to make 8 which pretty much shut the door on their chances of winning this game. Joshua got into foul trouble which really hurt his chances of making an impact and they will need him on offence more than they do on defence. GM Patrick knows there is still lots of room for improvement and the Bullets will need to shake off their 'pretender' label with a convincing win soontime. Luckily they banked 3 early wins and now have put themselves in a position to qualify for a top 6 seed. James and Tharu have been struggling with their shot the last 2 games and they will need to step up if this team wants to make some noise this season.
Final Score: Spurs 35 - 41 Bullets Player of the Game - Javan Whittle 13pts/12rebs/1stl/2TO's - 46% shooting
BLAZERS vs LAKERS: The team in first place finally took a hit and had their 5 game winning streak snapped. The Lakers have been extremely inconsistent all season but came out to play in this one. It was GM Rahul's former squad and he wanted to make a statement as he had this game circled on his calendar. A huge performance from Ara as he hit big shots all game to keep the Blazers at bay. He also did an excellent job defending NJ as he used his length and size to make it tough to get clean looks. NJ had his worst performance of the year as he went 2 for 12 and finished with 8 points. Vijith picked up the slack though as he dropped 23 points on 8 of 13 shooting! He was an incredible 6 for 10 from long range which was the only reason the Blazers were even in it. Brendan was active on defence while LiShin and Sarwar made some nice passes during the game. It was a complete team effort for the Lakers who now are a half game back of a top 6 seed. They started the season 0-3 and things were not looking good but give them credit for turning the season around. The talent is there and they have a deep team and now the chemistry is coming around. We shall see if they can keep it going after they come back from their bye week. The Blazers will look to rebound against the Raps this Sunday.
Final Score: Blazers 50 - 53 Lakers Player of the Game - Ara Ehamparam 21pts/6rebs/2asts/0TO's - 3 Triples
BULLS vs GRIZZLIES: History was made on this night as Mr. Anthony Jeyakanthan of the Grizz dropped a rediculous 50 points on the Bulls...YES...Five-O...and he only took 29 shots to accomplish this record setting amount. The Bulls scored 54 points by the way so that puts it into context how truly remarkable this was. In fact, he scored more than half the teams on this night by himself lol. We talk about how he is usually in 'Westbrook' mode but tonight he was in 'Curry' Mode as he hit some three's from India basically. As soon as he crossed halfcourt he was already thinking about launching bombs and the Bulls weren't ready for it (I mean who would be if you shoot from that far). He was hitting stepback 3's, pull-ups, buckets in transition, driving in the lane, and freethrows. 9 triples is another ETBL record and he still managed to make the right plays to his teammates almost everytime. He was able to get Vimal some shots as he drained 3 triples and which broke him out of a funk. That was enough to take care of business on this night as the Bulls just couldn't adjust their defence enough to make it interesting. Nishan led the way with 22pts/6rebs/5asts but he did pick up a tech at the end of the game for his shove on Anthony. He was not too happy with the youngster trying to run up the score on them near the end. Anthony had 49 at this point and so he was gifted an opportunity to hit the 50 mark with the technical freethrow. The Bulls were obviously frustrated and now they are under .500 for the season at 3-4. They got to work some things out as the defence really let them down today but they gotta get it figured out soon as they are hanging onto a wildcard spot currently.
Final Score: Bulls 54 - 74 Grizzlies Player of the Game - Anthony Jeyakanthan 50pts/2rebs/2asts/3steals - 62% shooting - 9 Triples
JAZZ vs RAPTORS: Most would consider this game an upset as the defending champs lost to a below .500 team but there is talent spread out thru ETBL and any team can pretty much beat any team (even the Pistons). The Jazz just weren't ready to start this game and the Raps took full advantage of it. They jumped out to a 16-2 lead right away as Somi and Harrison led the way by making shots/putbacks and before the Jazz knew what hit them...the score was 25 to 7 and the Raptors were in cruise control. Somi played the best game of his ETBL career as he dropped 23 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists, and 4 steals!! When he and Harrison have it going it's going to be a tough night for their opponents. The Raps were up 46 to 26 with about 13 minutes left to go in the game when finally the Jazz decided to make a run. They started ramping the effort on defence and started to hit some shots but it was too late and the Raps get a big time victory. They could have closed out better to ensure a much better run differential (which could come back to bite them later on) but considering most people would have projected them to lose this game...they will take it. Now they need to bottle up how they played for the first 30mins of this game and use it for the rest of the season. They are also now a half game back of the Jazz for a top 6 seed and that should be their goal.
Final Score: Jazz 47 - 54 Raptors Player of the Game - Somi Ravin 23pts/11rebs/4asts/4stls - 56% shooting - 2 Triples
PISTONS vs WARRIORS: Most would consider this game an upset if the Warriors lost to a below .500 team but fortunately for them they put up a strong second half especially defensively to make sure that did not happen. Usamah and the Pistons played a solid first half of basketball and had the lead at halftime. Usamah had some steals and found his teammates for some good looks which they cashed early on. Sugee led the way with 19 points which would be a season high for him as he hit 5 triples and really tried to get this win for his squad. Sanam with a season high 12 boards did a great job securing possessions! The second half was a different story in this one as Amit took over offensively and dropped a game high 22 points and 0 turnovers! They were missing Asok in this one and thus he had to step up to make sure they secured this win. Gopal a.k.a 'Icon' was gassed but he just won a ball hockey championship a couple hours prior and wasn't able to give his full effort but others stepped up. Bahee, Jeffrey and Gautham all hit 2 triples which ended up being huge and they have now won 5 in a row! They did not play a perfect game but considering all the circumstances...it was a grind it out victory and they will look to finish the season strong. The Pistons have 4 games left and with only 1 victory under their belts...the road to the playoffs doesn't seem straight forward anymore. GM Sugee has gotten to the semi's in the first 2 years but might not even get to the dance this time around.
Final Score: Pistons 47 - 53 Warriors Player of the Game - Amit Sieukumar 22pts/7rebs/2asts/1stls/0TO's - 2 Triples