Week 4 was filled with big time wins for some teams while some others were left extremely disappointed! A reminder that the holiday break starts Dec 17th and we will resume action on January 6th 2019. The trading period has been set between Monday December 10th until Monday December 17th (midnight). Rumors are already swirling and we may see some blockbuster trades. But for now let's get right to it.
TIMBERWOLVES vs LAKERS: We had two teams looking for their first taste of victory. Sometimes, all it takes is that first win to build on something positive and both the Lakers and Wolves needed a win soon as we approach the halfway mark. We had high expectations from Baki after being selected in the 1st round but he hasn’t lived up to the preseason hype yet. While he tries to find a consistent shot, he is contributing in the hustle and defensive departments as he leads the Wolves in steals. He is most certainly due for a breakout game very soon as this game wasn’t his time either. Both teams got off to a slow start only scoring a combined 30 points in the first half. At times it seemed like Manveer and Baki were the only ones in the game for the Wolves. Even former Defensive Big of the Year (Krishan) was a non-factor. Before the game, GM Somi was strategizing and planning on using his bigs in this game so Somi Bryant doesn’t have to show up too often. Vinoth, Jenush and Rogan all responded in a huge way! Rebounding was the story to this game as the Lakers big men totally dominated from start to finish. The big three grabbed an amazing 41 rebounds which almost doubled the total from the Wolves. The second chance opportunities got pretty much made the difference in the 2nd half as the Lakers outscored the Wolves 25 - 12. The night belonged to the Lakers Rogan Ananth as his skills were on full display and it quickly turned into his big coming out party as he filled up the stat sheet. The most impressive part is that the Lakers have a big man who can both handle the ball, rebound and shoot free throws. His clutch free throws were critical in the win. The Wolves need some scoring bad as they're shooting a dreadful 29% (14 out of 15 teams) from the field for the season thus far. It is the 3pt shooting that has abandoned them as they are only hitting 18 percent of those. Good thing they have a bye next week! They need to work the ball around better in order to get cleaner looks as most of their shots are contested ones. They also need some layup drills, better defensive rotations...the works. Bring in coach Thibs asap!!! I just hope that they use their week off properly because I believe that this team has plenty of potential that is dying to be unlocked or maybe GM Suthan needs to shake things up. The Lakers were again without their first rounder as he is slowly healing from his injury. However, Uzi still manages to show up to every game to give support from the bench which says a lot about his commitment and role as a leader. A big win for the Lakers as they showed themselves and the league that anything can happen with teamwork. They needed to stay in the race without their star player and they have done so with this huge victory. They also have a bye week coming up so they can soak in the win and plan for the next.
Final Score: Wolves 29 - 38 Lakers Player of the Game - Rogan Ananth 11pts/12rebs/1ast/2bstls - 6 Offensive Rebs
Written by: Ed Rubiales @thelearningboy
RAPTORS vs PACERS: The Pacers are still rolling but had to grind out a victory for the first time this season after mostly blowing teams out thus far. They are sitting pretty with a 4-0 record as the only undefeated team in ETBL. Now there are a couple ways to look at that...one is to truly analyze who they have played so far and the 4 opponents combined now have record of 2-11 which is a nasty 15.4 winning percentage. So they have not had a signature win yet this season but they do play the Warriors this week and that should tell us alot about this team. The other way to look at it is that they can only play the teams infront of them and they have taken care of business quite easily with an average winning margin of almost 11 points a game. Everything starts and ends with Shaq aka Akshay Vaishishtha who has been incredible to say the least. He almost had the first triple double which would have included blocks! He ended up with 8 big time swats and looked like he was playing volleyball out there against the Raps. As Nikola Jokic would say, "no homo, but he's longer than you expect" lol. Usually blocks are the hardest stat to track as statkeepers might have a bad angle or can't tell if someone got a hand on it. But Akshay made it super easy as he was just spiking the ball everywhere and it was a huge reason why the Raps could not get a rhythm going. So far in 4 games, Akshay is 27 for 40 from inside the arc which is a mindblowing 67.5%!!! He was 9 for 10 from inside the arc in this one alone as he was in Godzilla mode against the Raps. Ganen and Paolo combined for 21pts 14rebs 5asts and 5stls and that was enough to squeak by this game. Davy led the way with 13points but struggled with his shot and the rest of his teammates could not provide enough of a spark to get this victory. They have had some close losses thus far and that is extremely frustrating but they currently hold down the last playoff spot and that run differential will help down the line.
Final Score: Raptors 52 - 49 Pacers Player of the Game - Akshay Vaishishtha 20pts/13rebs/1ast/8blks - 75% Shooting
BUCKS vs WARRIORS: This was a big time matchup between 2 talented teams and in the first half the Bucks had their star player (Chris D'Souza) actually play like one. He had 29 and 12 in this one and chipped in a steal and 2 blocks as he was flat out amazing. He looked way more comfortable and stopped settling for shots. He is one of the most athletic players in the league and showed why in this game as he drove and finished well around the basket. This was his coming out party but he was still very dissapointed after the game as it did not end up leading to a victory. The Bucks unfortunately had to play the defending Champs and they were able to withstand the barrage of bullets coming from Chris and still managed to take home the W. Amit and Thanu combined for 30 points on 10 for 20 shooting and that was key for the Dubs. Michael also hit a couple big buckets and finished with 8points and he has fit in seamlessly. The Warriors stepped up on the defensive end in the 2nd half and caused alot more turnovers which led to easy transition points for them. The Bucks now sit outside the playoff picture but they still have 8 more games left to do some damage. The team has alot of talent and they have faced 3 tough teams thus far so there is no need to panic. They just gotta get Chris to build off this game and then have a couple other guys step up on offence. The Warriors will now be looking at a showdown with the undefeated Pacers in what should be a great game on Sunday.
Final Score: Bucks 51 - 57 Warriors Player of the Game - Amit Sieukumar 19pts/4rebs/2asts/2stls - 50% Shooting
HAWKS vs MAGIC: This was the comeback of the night! The Hawks who are winless had control of this game the whole time and looked like they would cruise to a victory. Nirsan's putback at the end of the first half put them up 26 to 17 and the Magic did not seem like they had a shot with how bad their offence was. Then Jude Voon hits a backbreaking triple with about 7mins to go in the game which put them up 39 to 27! It was especially tough cuz Jude banked it in straight off the backboard from top of the 3point arc! The Magic however did not quit and showed some grit and determination by not allowing the Hawks to score from this point on...yes the Hawks actually did not score a single point in the last 7 plus minutes in the game! Pras gets an offensive board and makes the bucket...Nick hits a jumper off a pass from Jeff...and then Vasko with back to back huge triple to tie the game!! Vasko also was incredible on defence with 6 steals and he was all over the place. He was diving on the floor for loose balls and getting deflections which were absolutely huge in this one...and just for good measure...he gets fouled and makes both clutch freethrows to give the team the lead and victory! Wilbert was great on the boards with 10, Satish and Rameez played solid defence and the rest of the guys did enough to pull off this comeback. The Hawks are going to be thinking about this one for a long time as they had this game in the bag. Nirsan had 18 and 19 and continues to be a force but he has not gotten the supporting help that is required to win games. There is still lots of season left so the Hawks are still in it.
Final Score: Hawks 39 - 42 Magic Player of the Game - Vasko Stojkoski 14pts/5rebs/1ast/6stls/0to - 3 Triples
Written by: Kisho (Commissioner)
SUNS vs HEAT: The Heat were coming off a huge come from behind win against the Champs while the Suns were 2-0 heading into this after dismantling the Timberwolves. Umaraj was out for Suns but GM Jasinthan drafted a deep team that was being tested in this one while the Heat were at full strength. The 1st half was a back and forth battle and Abdul Wahedi was using his athletic ability to beat people of the dribble and hitting 3’s taking advantage of the slow transition defense. The Heat countered by slowing the game down and getting the ball to Milton and working the inside out game; getting open shots and driving lanes for his teammates. Fasel benefited with 14 points on 54% shooting. It was 36-35 at halftime but to start the 2nd half Mr. Ed Rubiales had his own 6-0 run as he stole ball off Abdul, got a transition layup which should have been an 'and1', then on an inbounds there was a deflection by Jeron and the ball found its way back to Ed to score his money mid range. Heat were pulling away as Milton got hot down the stretch finishing with 22 points. PJ struggled with foul trouble by guarding Milton. Abdul was struggling against Az and the Suns looked like they really needed Umaraj who is another guard who can create his own shot. The Heat fan base was encouraging Milton to demolish the interior players of the Suns by saying there all skinny but that will go for all ETBL teams when they guard Milton. Zanoon played well for Suns with 14 points but that was offset by the performance of Ed with a 6/7 shooting night and 13 pts. The Heat will be playing the struggling Hornets next week while Suns will face off against the winless Bucks.
Final Score: Suns 58 - 68 Heat Player of the Game - Milton Laidley 22pts/12rebs/5asts/1stls/0to - 83% Shooting
NUGGETS vs CAVS: Two preseason contenders matched up as the 2-1 Nuggets played the 1-1 Cavs. The Nuggets were coming off a win against Bucks as it looked like Ray found a way to keep Dylan happy without ruining the chemistry with the other Nuggets. The Cavs were coming off a frustrating loss against the Warriors and looked to rebound. Many question whether the Cavs Ainkaran had anything left after his 1st two games in ETBL but probably after some pep talk from his Construction Bro Harrison; he unleased the best shooting display ETBL has ever seen outscoring the Nuggets in the 1st half as the opponents scored a total of 8 points! He topped it off with a rediculously deep triple before the haftime buzzer to put the exclaimation point. The Nuggets were without Dylan and they struggled to generate offense and there defense which perplexed me by playing zone against the Cavs and they got burnt badly. The second half was no different as the Cavs moved the ball and got excellent looks while Harrison was driving the offesnse by hitting and1's and 3’s. Yaga was back after his 1pt performance and had 13pts while Thannojh was saucing the Nuggets defenders (see what I did there?). Joseph and Sayon provided the interior offense and defense that this team needs and that has resulted in the greatest margin of victory on a ETBL team. The Construction Bro's finished with 39 pts combined (AInkaran 20 and Harrison 19). The Cavs will play Sixers next week in a battle of 2-1 teams while Nuggets play a scrappy Raptors team.
Final Score: Nuggets 33 - 66 Cavs Player of the Game - Ainkaran Arumuganathan 20pts/5rebs/2asts/2stls/0to - 50% Shooting - 6 Triples
Written by: 6IXFAN