Week 5 was another great week for ETBL as we saw some highly competitive games. The gym was also filled with a ton of spectators which obviously provides an exciting atmosphere for everyone to play in. We will have another post soon regarding important dates/notes/rules and other info so look out for that in the next couple days. Now let's get right to it. 

MAGIC vs PISTONS:  This game would mark the debut of GM Sugee who was previously out with knee soreness...knee tendinitis...overweight so knee hurts...maybe he is always on his knees...I am not exactly sure as the doctor does not know exactly what is wrong with him. His team however was shorthanded without Cameron and Steve so he decided to suit up (without his Pistons shorts which cost them 2 freethrows) and I am sure his team KNEEDED the breather he was able to give them. Especially Sanjoo, who looked like he was about to throw up every 2 minutes that he was on the court which would have been terrible as I had just mopped the Logos floors before their game. The Magic pretty much had a full team minus Sham Rajendra who is now out for the season with a legit tear in his knee. We wish him nothing but the best in his recovery! Early on the Pistons took an early 16 to 7 lead as Kris was doing his thang. It looked like the Magic were trying to focus on him by playing a 'box and 1' defence. 4 guys would play a box formation zone and your best defender (Vasko) would defend the star player (Kris). Now the reason the Magic were not successful at limiting the Pistons with this type of D was the fact that some of their players did not know what to do once the defender playing Kris got screened. There was alot of confusion when switching and then the initial defender not knowing which zone to cover now or they would both back off giving Kris space or Vasko would hedge and the other Magic player still leaves his spot in the zone to try and switch for no reason. This requires alot of communication and some IQ which the Magic lacked in this game. Kris had a productive 18 points and 4 assists but it was Manish who stole the show in this one. He went 6 for 6 from long range and absolutely torched this box defence. There was a sequence where he hit 3 in a row in the second half which basically allowed them to pull away. Manish is going to be huge for this team if he can continue to stretch the floor for Kris to give him that extra space to drive in the lane. Pistons remain undefeated.

Final Score: Magic 40 - 48 Pistons           Player of the Game - Manish Pitroda 20pts/7rebs/1stl - 6 Triples - 78% Shooting 

HORNETS vs HEAT:  This game was more competitive than I thought it would be. The Hornets are still missing Nishan and Asok was the biggest guy they had to guard Milton so I thought the Heat would take this game easily but credit the Hornets for taking on the challenge and almost squeezing out a victory. The big 3 for the Heat all scored in double figures for the first time this season which is a great sign for GM Billal. He gave this core group another shot to make some noise and it looks like it has been paying off thus far. It definitely helps the cause when you have Milton the monster who had 13/19/6 on 5 of 7 shooting! His passing out of the double teams has been phenomenal which I did not know he had. He has handled the extra pressure with ease as he is finding cutters or making skip passes to find open 3point shooters. His unselfishness has been just as key as his dominance in the paint. He knows they are only going to do damage if they get scoring help from his teammates and so far the game plan has been working out well. They have won 3 in a row and the goal should definitely be to get a top 4 seed in order to get a bye straight to the quarter-finals. The Hornets were led by Asok with 19 points and everyone else chipped in but they could not get a couple key defensive stops down the stretch. Fasel Ali made some rediculous acrobatic shots in the paint which definitely hurt their chances. They got outrebounded heavily and the only thing that kept it close was the difference in 3point shooting as they hit 5 and the Heat hit zero. Puvi and Hari did a great job of playmaking as they each had 5 assists but in the end they fell just a bit short. 

Final Score: Hornets 47 - 51 Heat           Player of the Game - Fasel Ali 15pts/10rebs/4asts - 60% Shooting

WARRIORS vs PACERS:  This was a game between 2 contenders and we wanted to find out how real the Pacers actually were and they did not dissapoint. Warriors had the early lead 21-13 but the Pacers responded with an 8 to 2 run which closed the gap to 2 points. The second half was a back and forth affair with featured another big time performance from the leading MVP candidate (Akshay). The stat line is below and he continues to put up video game numbers and I personally know the type of talent he has but he has even surpassed my expectations!. He has been a calming influence on this squad and has spoken up when he needs to but primarily has led by example. Paolo was a handful for the Warriors as he wanted to have a good game against his former squad (Season 2). He attacked the paint all night and ended up going 9 for 12 from the line to help his squad secure this victory. The Pacers grinded out a 37 to 31 lead with a few minutes left in the game and by this time Gopal had already fouled out and the game looked to be slipping out of the Warriors hands. But Bahee picked a perfect time to make some huge shots including back to back triples to tie the game! After Ganen gave the Pacers the lead once more, Bahee came back with another basket to tie the game and send it to overtime. In OT, the Pacers were able to get to the freethrow line and outscored the Dubs 6 to 2 in the extra frame. They could have caved in after giving up the lead late but they showed tremendous perseverance and confidence to get the job done eventually. The Pacers are currently the best team in ETBL. Yeah, I said it. 

Final Score: Warriors 47 - 51 Pacers           Player of the Game - Akshay Vaishishtha 20pts/17rebs/3asts/3stls/4blks/0to - 2 Triples

RAPTORS vs NUGGETS:  This was...man I hate to say it...I feel like I have already said it a couple times...but another heartbreaker for the Raptors...insert like a bunch of sad face emojis. They have lost 4 games this season by only a combined total of 10 points!! Lost by 1 to the Magic, lost by 4 to the Cavs, lost by 3 to the Pacers and now they lose by 2 to Ray and the Nuggets. They were down 7 at halftime but they controlled the pace and tempo in the 2nd half and actually took a 2 point lead with less than 30 seconds in the game. They were down 11 at one point in the 2nd half but grinded their way back led by Davy, Jorge and Peter! Peter went 4 for 5 and gave them great energy this game while Jorge went 4 for 6 for 9 points. Davy did most of the heavy lifting as he finished with 19 and you can tell he is just much faster than almost anyone else on the court. Speed kills and he was showing it against the Nuggets. GM Ray was not playing but he was out there coaching and making the substitution calls and was doing a great job of it until they hit some turbulence. You can see that he was having some words with some of his players and they did not look pleased with the way the game was going. If they had lost this game, we could have witnessed a blowup on the Nuggets bench and Ray might have traded a few players at that very moment. But fortunately for the Nuggets, Mr. Dylan Tee hits a big time triple while they were down 1 and less than 15 seconds to go in the game! Peter had just given the Raps the 2 point lead prior and it looked like they were going to celebrate a great come from behind victory but Dylan with the cold blooded triple from the wing to win it for the baby blue crew. Dylan has hit 13 triples this season which is more than the rest of the Nuggets combined and he has played one less game than his teammates. He is critical to keeping the floor spaced for his teammates. The Raps fall to 1-4 while the Nuggets now move up to 3-2.

Final Score: Raptors 46 - 48 Nuggets           Player of the Game - Dylan Tee 17pts/2rebs/2stls/1to - 5 Triples - 54.5% Shooting

Written by: Kisho (Commissioner)

SUNS vs BUCKS:  The Bucks were coming into this game winless (0-3) and even though it is still early, it seemed as though they were playing like it was a must win game for them. They were going against the up and coming Suns team who were coming off a tough loss to the Heat. There were also alot of friendly rivalries between some of the players which made it easier for the squads to be excited to play each other. Another way we could tell that the Bucks really wanted to win this game was due to the fact that they brought in all of Sri Lanka to watch the game. The fans were loud and proud in this one. The first half we got to see a great battle between the two bigs, Abdul Wahedi and Chris D’Souza. Chris utilized his first step and got to the rim drawing fouls on the opposition and that was after hitting a couple 3’s. Abdul Wahedi was matching it in the 1st half by doing the same as the superstars battled it out. The difference in this game was the play of the guards as Annojh finally played like he can and he shutdown the Suns primary ball handler Umaraj by moving his feet and drawing charges. It was an Oscar worthy performance by the GM and this neutralized one of the Suns primary scoring threats. He also launched a career high 5 three pointers but unfortunately he did not make any but it will be important for him to stay aggressive or teams will just pack the paint on Chris. Also, Zanoon was 1 for 12 in this one...he may of forgotten that this was not draft day and did not need to follow Jasinthan's instructions on tanking ;). The Bucks pulled away in the 2nd half with their relentless defense and getting scoring from sharp shooter Vijith who had16 points and Suren chipped in 7 points. Chris D'Souza looks primed to take over the league as he has taken the reindeers by the horn! Bucks are now 1-3 and will face the winless Timberwolves while Suns get the Pistons who are still undefeated.

Final Score: Suns 55 - 43 Bucks           Player of the Game - Chris D'Souza 24pts/11rebs/3asts/0to - 2 Triples - 61.5% Shooting

CAVALIERS vs SIXERS:  Cavs are looking to build on their previous performance after last week's blowout of the Nuggets and the Sixers are coming off a bye week. GM Rahul has stated that the Cavaliers team plays dirty so the Cavs had bulletin board material even before tip off. The Sixers were without the services of Kevin in this one and it showed with their offense as Nirosan had to create on his own for the majority of the time. He was successful until the Cavs trapped and sent double teams which forced Flash to pass out to his teammates who could not hit shots. LiShin had the duty of guarding Harrison but Harry is a scorer and he drew fouls plus got to the rim with his dribble. He also hit 3’s so it was a long day for LiShin. Last week's game against the Nuggets awoke Ainkaran and this game he continued his dominance from outside the arc as he was 5/6 from long range with 17 points on 7 shots and to think people actually thought he had lost it. He is still a heck of a long range shooter and just needs to work on his conditioning. The Construction Bro's combined for 37 points while Yaga provided great defense on Ara in this one and contributed 11 rebounds. The Cavs are systematic as they know where there shots come from and it puts your defense in compromising positions. The Cavs win by 8 and now will face the Magic while the Sixers get a hungry Nuggets team. 

Final Score: Cavs 50 - 42 Sixers           Player of the Game - Ainkaran Arumuganathan 17pts/3rebs/1stl - 5 Triples - 71% Shooting

Written by: 6IXFAN