Week 6 had some statement games and some closely contested games! You just never know what you are going to get from week to week which is why this season has been incredible thus far. There were some more trades finalized before the deadline and we will touch upon some of them in the recap. We are off for the holidays and resume on January 6th so I hope everyone has a merry xmas and a verry happy new year! Let's get right to it.
SIXERS vs NUGGETS: The Sixers were coming off a loss to the Cavs but they did not have Kevin in that one. This time they had a full team and were looking to bounce back against the Nuggets who beat the Raps the week prior as Dylan hit a clutch triple to win it. The Sixers came out hot and built a 14 to 4 lead early on and looked to be too fast for GM Ray's team. They also have a bunch of shooters while the Nuggets may only have one marksmen (Dylan Tee). The Nuggets started to slow things down and use their size and length creating deflections and steals to get back into this one. Muhammad had his best game this season as he hit 4 of 6 shots and chipped in a couple steals. An 'and1' early on from him really seemed to get the Nuggets going. So what did he get for playing his best game thus far?...well he got traded the following day lol...GM Ray decided to move him for Andy N. from the Hawks and this could potentially benefit both squads. Andy brings some quickness and ball handling to the Nuggets while Mo will bring some high energy, IQ and craftiness to the Hawks. The Nuggets actually went on a 29 to 9 run to lead 33 to 23 in the second half. The Sixers kept battling and cut the lead to 2 a few times but just could not get over the hump as Mr. Dylan Tee hit some backbreaking triples to keep the Nuggets ahead. Dylan now has 18 triples on the year which leads the league and the way the Nuggets have him positioned...he should be at or near the top of this chart for the remainder of the season. Dwayne was a force on the defensive end as he finished with 10 boards, 2 stls and 3 blocks! His length was a problem for the guards of the Sixers. Sarwar was a bright spot for GM Rahul as he continued to shoot the ball well especially from distance (3 of 5). Rahul also made a move picking up Zaid from the Wolves for Nathies as well as Arjun from the Cavs for Mathan W. Size will be an issue for the Sixers but as far as playing a small ball lineup and having multiple players that can switch on defence...they are loaded.
Final Score: Sixers 44 - 47 Nuggets Player of the Game - Dylan Tee 21pts/2rebs/1stl - 5 Triples
LAKERS vs HEAT: The Lakers dressed only 5 guys this game which is never good but even worse when you have to play a fully healthy Heat team. The only chance they had was to slow the game down to a screeching halt and hope to hit a few triples. Well it is hard to hit a few triples if you only attempt 4 of them for the game...and unfortunately they missed all 4 as well. The Lakers are by far the worst 3point shooting team in the league and have only made 6 total on the year. Their first rounder (Usamah) still has not suited up yet but he is getting close and may make his debut after the holiday break. He is also not a long range bomber but did almost average 2 triples a game in limited games last season which will help but I don't think that will be enough against the upper echelon teams. Their identity is going to be defence and rebounding which will certainly keep them in games but we shall see if they can muster enough offence to win games. Milton and Jeron did some work and they combined for 27pts which almost totalled the Lakers. Jenush did a heck of a job using his body to keep Milton away from the basket and made it tough on him whenever he got the ball deep in the post. Not a pretty game for the Heat but they get the job done and have now won 4 in a row after losing their season opener. Milton is now shooting a rediculous 67.5% on the season and teams will have to figure out how to handle him...or just hope he can't make it for that day lol. No trades for either team even though rumors were floating around that Somi had some deals available to him...but ultimately he decided to stick it out with his crew.
Final Score: Lakers 30 - 42 Heat Player of the Game - Jeron Hameed 16pts/1reb/1ast/0to
HAWKS vs HORNETS: This was the game of the night and it was mostly due to the fact that the Hornets could not follow the substitution rule and it almost cost them badly. Hawks were 0-3 and the Hornets were 1-2 and so this game was big for both teams. Let's fast forward to the second half where the Hornets had a 3 point lead with about 5 and a half mins to go. They had a couple guys waiting to sub into the game and the scorer's table mentioned to them that a couple Hornets players did not sub out yet and the 5min warning was fast approaching. The table indicated to the team that they should foul and get the players out but let's just say they failed to do it in time and thus giving the Hawks 3 bonus freethrows at the end of the game. The email to remind everyone about this rule was resent a couple days prior to game day and so there were absolutely no excuses. Now everyone at the scorer's table was hoping the game would not be decided by these freethrows but the Hawks kept it close throughout the late stages of the game. Satish who was traded to the Hornets via the Magic had a big turnover during crunch time which lead to Nirsan eventually getting fouled and going to the line at the end of regulation. Nirsan made one of 2 and the game would be sent to overtime. Since we were going to OT and the game is not over...the 3 bonus freethrows for the Hawks for improper substitutions would have to wait until the 2mins in OT were finished which added just another layer of intrigue to this game. The Hornets not only needed to win but to win by a safe margin so that the freethrows won't hurt them after the game. Nirsan made an 'and1' to start OT but did not convert the 3 point play...Luxshan makes a huge triple to take the lead back...Suhi with a big steal off Satish late but did not convert on the other end as he had a horrible shooting game (0 for 12). Now the Hawks should have just let the game time run out down 1 but they foolishly start fouling which meant the Hornets could extend the lead at the line. GM Patty totally forgot about the 3 bonus freethrows but luckily the Hornets shot 1 of 4 from the line and only had a 2pt lead. Nirsan drove to the basket on the final play and gets fouled as time runs out!!! As if this game wasn't crazy enough. So basically the Hawks are down 2 but get 5 consecutive freethrows with no time left on the clock! Nirsan was 10 for 13 on the year from the line and so he was a good option to have up there but when the gym goes totally silent and your team desperately needs a win...the pressure can get to you. He goes 0 for 2 and now GM Patty had to choose who would shoot the final 3 and he chose his buddy Sam. Sam hit the first and it looked like the Hawks were going to get a tie at least...but no...the last 2 rim out and the Hawks are absolutely heartbroken while the Hornets breathed a huge sigh of relief (as well as the scorer's table as nobody wants to see a team lose in that fashion). GM Patty made a couple moves including acquiring Krishan (Wolves) for Trevor and we shall see if these moves can get them back on track and back in the hunt for the playoffs.
Final Score: Hawks 40 - 41 Hornets Player of the Game - Hari Yoga 12pts/4reb/3ast/2stls - 2 Triples - 50% Shooting
PISTONS vs SUNS: The Suns only dressed 5 for this game as PJ, Shehan, and Amar were unavailable...and that did not matter one bit as they absolutely torched the Pistons in this one. The Suns shot 50% from inside the arc as Abdul and Uma were driving nonstop to the basket. The Pistons have some tough defenders they can throw at these guys but when so much attention was focused on these two...Mr. Zanoon was launching shots from the moon and nailing them as he went 6 for 12 from deep. When the Suns went zone...Zanoon destroyed it...when they went man to man and collapsed on the drives by Abdul and Uma...Zanoon once again was there to make the Pistons pay...when Manish tried to guard him tight...Zanoon was still good. He went 1 for 12 last week against the Bucks but he quickly made us forget about that by dropping a season high 27 points on 19 shots! If your third option can drop this much points then other teams are going to be in trouble and the Suns made a big statement in this one. We almost actually did not have a game as Jasinthan took an inadvertent arm to his nose which caused it to break and he started leaking blood. This was done by former teammate Jolly who I am sure did it accidentally :). We had to stop the game for a few minutes as the blood took awhile to stop and the bathroom looked like a horror flick but Jas toughed it out and decided to play through it (otherwise it would be a forfeit as they would only have 4 guys). Should have given him the player of the game as there would have been no game without him! Abdul had 6 blocks and he has been incredible on both ends of the floor this season. Kris had 28 and did all he could but the Suns were just too good on this day.
Final Score: Lakers 30 - 42 Heat Player of the Game - Zanoon Ali 27pts/5rebs/2asts/1stl/1to - 6 Triples - 52.5% Shooting
TIMBERWOLVES vs BUCKS: This game got out of hand really early and the Twolves had no shot whatsoever. They were playing a lower ranked eam but they are not your typical 1-3 team. The Bucks had a rough start to the schedule facing the Pacers, Nuggets, and Warriors who are all very solid teams. Now they have won 2 straight after beating the Suns and destroying the Wolves. One of the biggest changes I see is the aggressive play of Chris D'Souza who is averaging 23 a game in his last 3 games as opposed to 16.5 in the first couple to start the season. He definitely looks comfortable out there playing with his teammates now and knows that he needs to stay aggressive for them to be a contender. It opens up opportunites for the rest of the guys, especially Vijith, who will get more open looks for three's and chances to cut to the basket. Speaking of which, Vijith had a game high 18 on only 11 shots and played very well in this one. The Wolves did lose by 23 but it looked for awhile like it coulda been even uglier the way the game started (believe it was 20-1 start for the Bucks). The Wolves have been the most dissapointing team...maybe ever in ETBL...as they had the talent and pieces but the chemistry was nowhere to be seen. There was a lot of finger pointing going on behind the scenes and the whole thing was just a big time mess. GM Suthan has made 3 moves in order to try and salvage the season. He acquired Trevor, Nathies, and Nick Regis and although I don't see them climbing up the standings...they can now just go out and play without having to worry about the toxic environment. It could also be a "less is more" type of situation where the pieces may just fit better and the chemistry improves. They are certainly not out of it and only 1.5 games back of a playoff spot. They get the winless Hawks after the break which will be a pivotal game.
Final Score: Timberwolves 33 - 56 Bucks Player of the Game - Vijith Nava 18pts/5rebs/3asts/2stls - 4 Triples - 63.5% Shooting
CAVALIERS vs MAGIC: This was another statement game by the Magic who look like an improved team out there after the moves made by GM Wilbert. He acquired Puvi and Baki as well as Nitharshan aka Witness who was a replacement for Sham Rajendra. The team just looks much more well rounded and deep as even their bench guys can have an impact on the game. It also helps when your GM has a career game by dropping 20 points on 6 of 6 shooting including 5 triples!!!. He did not even attempt a shot the week prior so this explosion came out of nowhere. He is one of the most likeable dudes in the league and so it was no suprise that the fans/players were excited every time he nailed a shot. Considering he had no keepers at the start of the season, it's pretty remarkable that he has this team above .500 and in the thick of the playoff hunt. Plus the trade deadline moves he made definitely has him as one of the favorites for GM of the Year. The biggest reason they were successful in this one was the fact that they could throw out Vasko, Puvi, and Baki to defend the Cavs guards. Ainky could only get off 6 shots...Harrison was harrassed by Vasko the entire night...and Thannojh went scoreless. Baki also did work on the offensive end and finished with 20/7/4 in his debut with the Magic. He looked re-energized by this trade and looks to have a found a home with this squad. The Magic all of a sudden look dangerous. With so much attention to the Cavs main scorers...Joseph was able to free himself and drop a team high 17 points on 66% shooting! He also chipped in 6 rebs and 4 assists and was the lone bright spot for them. He had a couple sweet bank shots and his midrange game has gotten even better. They need to try and incorporate more of that into their offence in order to be not so predictable.
Final Score: Cavs 44 - 64 Magic Player of the Game - Wilbert Devendran 20pts/8rebs/1ast - 5 Triples -100% Shooting
Written by: Kisho (Commissioner)