Week 3 had a couple blowouts but other than that it was highly entertaining close games and we are back to discuss it all! We will also have a November Power Rankings up this week so stay tuned for that. So let's get right to it.
HORNETS vs PACERS: As we know, it takes time to develop team chemistry. But every now and again, a team emerges from draft day looking like they’ve been playing together for years. Queue the Pacers. The Pacers are off to a blazing start this season with a couple of blowout wins and they look to continue their winning ways against a shorthanded Hornets squad that’s looking to stay competitive without their 1st rounder (Nishan). There’s always something alluring about an underdog story: David vs Goliath, Rocky vs Drago, The Hornets vs The Pacers. But it seems that the writers took the night off as the Hornets woes continued against the powerhouse Pacers. In terms of scoring, the first half was a forgettable one for Buzz City as they struggled to put up points. They were getting some decent looks but just weren’t converting. The Pacers obviously had a little something to do with that. They made life miserable for the Hornets, closing out on every shot, getting defensive rebounds on the misses, and limiting easy looks for the Hornets. Offensively the Pacers are a well-oiled machine. While many teams in the league need the whole game to score 37 points, the Pacers did that in a half as they took a commanding lead (37 - 19 at the break). In the 2nd half, we witnessed the Pacers take their foot off the gas and had fun playing to the crowd with some highlight baskets, fancy passing and along with some careless turnovers. They gave up 13 steals in total to the Hornets, who played with their hearts on their sleeves throughout the whole game. There was no shortage in hustle but missing Nishan, you know it would take a team-wide case of food poisoning for the Pacers to make the Hornets underdog story come to life. The Hornets need help against elite opposition...they were like a struggling family in a homeless shelter, where they supposedly found Asok (preseason power rankings reference). They have a chance to regroup and establish a new strategy as they have a bye next week. The Pacers Komathan came to life tonight showing signs of being a shooting specialist as he finished with 13 points, hitting 3 triples. The Pacers clearly bought into a team concept/strategy revolving around Akshay who has been unbelievable thus far. It is evident that if they play a team game everyone will get their share, and most especially the win. Next week,the Raptors have a chance to slow down the Pacers machine, but will they?
Final Score: Hornets 45 - 62 Pacers Player of the Game - Akshay Vaishishtha 25pts/17rebs/1ast/2blks - 3 Triples - 75% Shooting
Written by: Ed Rubiales @thelearningboy
TIMBERWOLVES vs PISTONS: Pistons were coming off a win while the Timberwolves were 0-2. GM Sugee was feeling nice after his teams 1st win but now he had to face Suthan's revamped team with Baki as their franchise player. Kris played even better in this one as he was driving at will regardless of the defenders that were thrown at him. Suthan used Zaid and Baki as primary defenders but he still had a good game with 22 points and the most important attribute to Kris's game is his ability to draw the foul on his drives as defenders are not quick enough to stay in front of him. Cameron held down the glass with 14 rebounds and had a nifty scoop for 'and1' off a great dish from Kris. Kris will try to get his teammates more involved but they have to make shots such as Manish going for 2/8 and obviously he is better then that. The Twolves were battling as they had many looks at that basket but they could not hit shots. The offense was stagnant partially because Baki is more a combo guard rather than a pure point guard. Playing with Manveer and Zaid who are both 3 point threats that need open looks will require some ball movement and playmaking. The possessions consist of mostly 1 pass and then shots by Manveer and Baki who had 13 and 14 respectively. The game was 19-12 at half but the Twolves made a run with Manveer hitting a couple of 3's in the 2nd half. The Pistons were in control majority of the game and they won all the hustle plays plus outrebounded the Wolves 32-26. The one strategy of the Pistons I was perplexed with was the Hack-A-Athavan as he went 4/6 from the line. There was alot empty points for the Twolves as the score indicated a closer game then it really was. GM Suthan will have to go back to drawing board to see what is happening and how to open up this offense or this season could be spiralling out of control. They play another winless team in the Lakers this week. The Pistons will get another bye week so Sugee can gloat and get back in shape to join his night in shining armour, Kris.
Final Score: Timberwolves 36 - 42 Pistons Player of the Game - Krisoth Gnanenthra 22pts/3rebs/2asts/2stls - 3 Triples
BUCKS vs NUGGETS: Nuggets looking to go 2-1 with a win over the Bucks while the bucks were trying to avoid the 0-2 start. The Nuggets had struggles against Kris last week but now they have to deal with Bucks franchise player (Chris D'Souza). He struggled in the opener against the Pacers as he was getting used to the league play. Bucks came out of the gate strong as Chris hit a couple post moves, Randy hit a couple 3's. Annojh was playing solid defense as he was available for a full game for once, and Nishant hit a couple of layups and displayed active defense which overwelmed the Nuggets. Nuggets struggled to score which was their achilles heel last season. Brendan kept this game in reach with 3/3 3pt shooting and they were down 23-14 to the Bucks at half. The 2nd half everything switched. GM Ray countered by swarming Chris who had to pass out to other players that couldn't make shots and literally they don't have consistent shooters which was a problem last season for them. Somebody will have to step up as teams key in on Chris and Vijith. Randy struggled hitting his shot in crunch time that would have had the game within reaching distance and had alot of open looks. On the other end, Mr. Dylan Tee who was brought over for his offense scored a team high 13, he played more off the ball with Dwayne or Brendan loooking for him. GM Ray should start using Dylan more off the ball which would limit his decision making/turnovers and focus more on scoring. Dwayne did a good job on the glass with 13 rebounds making sure the Bucks didn't get 2nd chance points. The Nuggets overtook the Bucks and ran away with the game in the 2nd half. The road doesn't get any easier as they play the Defending Champion Warriors while Nuggets are plays the revamped Cavs who are looking to get back on a winning note.
Final Score: Bucks 42 - 47 Nuggets Player of the Game - Dylan Tee 13pts/5rebs/3asts/2stls - 1 Triple
Written by: 6IXFAN
LAKERS vs RAPTORS: An interesting game to say the least as the Lakers were without their first and 2nd rd players (Usi and Vinoth) but still put up a heck of a fight against the Raps who finally had their 1st rder available. Players were asking me who Davy Wong was? and I responded saying the asian guy on the Raps..."uhhh yeah, which one though?"...the skinny guy with the tatooos!..."uhhhhh, yeah but which one though?!?". He was alot easier to identify by the end of the game however as he dropped a game high 25points and had the crowd buzzing, He said he was still rusty and just came back from vacation and promised to be even better going forward which means trouble for anyone facing this team. They get a much needed victory as they grinded this one out after being down most of the game and now can focus on moving up in the standings. The Lakers led by 8 early in the second half and were playing awesome defence up to this point and controlled the glass which was their biggest advantage. Rogan made some big midrange shots and looked alot more comfortable on the floor. He was able to pretty much rise over any player on the Raps and they will need him to continue to be assertive on offence. In the end it came down to GM Somi Ravin who needs to carry the load and he struggled offensively in this one but still had his team on the verge of getting the W. He had a costly turnover late and fellow GM Chris Cruz made the Lakers pay with a huge go ahead 'and1'. Somi had one last chance to tie the game with less then 4 seconds on the clock and he opted for his patented baseline fadeaway which went halfway down and out for a heartbreaking loss. They need to try and secure a win even if they are shorthanded just to give themselves a chance to make the postseason during the second half of the schedule. This one definitely hurts.
Final Score: Lakers 37 - 39 Raptors Player of the Game - Davy Wong 25pts/6rebs/2ast/1stl/1blk - 2 Triples
MAGIC vs SIXERS: This was an old fashioned beatdown courtesy of the Sixers and there was not much the Magic could do...besides playing defence of course. They allowed the Sixers to shoot 54% from the field as a team for the game which is unheard of in the ETBL world. The Sixers are obviously a solid team and when you have guys like Sarwar who can go off for 15 on 75% shooting...it is tough to hone in on a couple players. They also had Kevin and Flash (Nirosan) drop 16 a piece and this team is pretty deep and will be a handful to deal with. They shared the ball incredibly well in this one and had 21 assists combined with LiShin leading the way with 6! Ara had 8pts/8rebs/5asts and continues to do a bit of everything for this team. The Magic were led by Nick Regis who dropped a game high 21points including 5triples and his jumpers look super smooth with a ton of elevation. He will need to continue to play this well for them to make some noise this season. The Magic need their full complement of players because their depth is their main strength and tonight with only 1 reserve they got exposed. Vasko did a great job in this one of distributing and getting his teammates involved (mainly Nick) as he led the way with 6 assists. Rameez played his first game and was rusty but I expect him to be better going forward. The Sixers now get a week off while the Magic get the winless Hawks on Sunday.
Final Score: Magic 50 - 71 Sixers Player of the Game - Sarwar Syed 15pts/8rebs/0to- 3 Triples - 75% Shooting
CAVALIERS vs WARRIORS: The game of the night was an intense, trash talk, foul filled game between the Dubs and the Cavs. Yes I get it...there are a bunch of players that have history with each other and prefer to play with as much intensity/emotion as possible. There still needs to be a level of respect towards your competitor and good sportsmanship displayed regardless of how much you dislike the opponent. SO LET'S STOP THE DIRTY FOULS...THE CRYING ABOUT THE REFS...THE VULGAR TRASH TALK...THE CHEAP SHOTS...or at the very least...save it for the playoffs lol. There were 23 foul calls just in the second half alone which brought play to a screeching halt but it was necessary to calm things down. When we did get to see actual basketball...it was played at a high level. Amit was huge with 22 and 13 rebounds and carried the load for the defending champs. Gopal chipped in with 9 but the rest of the team went a combined 4 for 32! Thanujaan could not buy a bucket and give the Cavs credit for their defence on him but Thanu made up for it on the defensive end with a rediculous 4 steals and 2 blocks! Bahee did a great job of facilitating with 4 assists including a clutch outlet to Amit in the late stages. He was also very vocal and tried to get his squad to stay focused throughout the game. The big sequence of the game was when Yaga stole the ball off Amit in crunch time and hooked up Harrison who made the 'and1' basket to tie the game and had a chance to take the lead with the freethrow. Up to this point the Cavs were grinding it out and definitely did not play their best but to have a chance to take the go ahead lead late in the game was truly an accomplishment. Harrison misses the crucial freethrow and Yaga gets called for a foul on the otherside which gave the Warriors the game.
Final Score: Cavs 37 - 41 Warriors Player of the Game - Amit Sieukumar 22pts/13rebs/1stl - 2 Triples
Written by: Kisho (Commissioner)