Week 7 left us with more questions than answers! The new year has started and even though we are more than halfway through...the playoff picture is still far from decided. You could make a legitimate case that 14 teams still have a shot to win it all (sorry Twolves fans). To have this many teams in the mix is incredible and the rest of the season should still have lots of twists and turns left. Happy New Year to everyone and now let's get right to it.
PACERS vs HEAT: This game featured two of the hottest teams in the league and it was an extremely entertaining game from beggining to end. The battle between Akshay and Milton was amazing but the Heat just found ways to get Milton the ball deep in the post and at that point it was nothing the Pacers could do. Milton had a rediculous 29 points and 22 rebounds while shooting 11 of 14 in the game...so just foul him then?...well he also knocked down 7 of 10 freethrows and when he is doing that he is almost unstoppable. He even at one point told his guys not to rebound for him at the line and he calmly swished 2 freethrows. The swaggar and confidence is growing each game and that means bad news for the rest of the league. Pacers got a total team effort with at least 6 guys scoring at least 6 points and they almost pulled this game out as they led late in the game (52 - 49). Glenn makes a huge triple to tie things up and then Milton finished things up for the Heat. Ganen and Akshay had 14 a piece for the Pacers but Ganen struggled at the line going 2 for 8 and as a team they shot 4 for 14 which proved to be huge in this one. The undefeated streak ends for them but they are still at the top of the standings and will now look to bounce back in their next game against the Nuggets.
Final Score: Pacers 57 - 64 Heat Player of the Game - MILTON LAIDLEY 29pts/22rebs/2asts/2stls - 78.5% shooting
SIXERS vs LAKERS: The return of Usamah had its highs and lows but in the end it was a successful game for the Lakers as they get a big win against the tough Sixers. 15/5/4 is the line Usi finishes with in his return from a finger injury and he made some big triples in this one and had some nice dimes as well. He did turn the ball over 7 times and picked up a technical (not suprisingly). The suprising part I guess would be that he picked up the tech when they were up 10 points in the game lol. How is he going to keep his emotions in check?...how can GM Somi trust that his star player will behave in crucial moments?...only time will tell but I am not holding my breath. The Sixers were missing LiShin and Arjun and they just could not get shots to drop and they got outrebounded badly. They lack size and somehow they are going to have to gangrebound to minimize the damage on the boards. The Lakers have bigs and good rebounders and thus it was going to be tough for the Sixers if they did not make any shots. Kevin and Flash combined for 32 points and did all they can to keep this game close. They get the Wolves next game and that is a must win game for the Sixers.
Final Score: Sixers 43 - 49 Lakers Player of the Game - ROGAN ANANTH 10pts/4rebs/1ast/1stl/0to - 62.5% Shooting
SUNS vs MAGIC: The Magic put up the statement game of the night by going off on the Suns in the first half and then held on for a 4 point victory. This was the first game after the break and the Suns still looked like they were in holiday mode as they came out extremely flat in the first 21 minutes. They got outplayed and outscored 32 to 14 in the first half and they had no answers for Baki. He dropped a game high 26 points and looks like a completely new player in this Magic system...he does not have to worry about being the primary ball handler or getting others involved...they are just asking him to be aggressive going to the hoop, lead transition breaks, and play solid defence. The rest of the players are playing their roles perfectly and this team continues to suprise us all. Jeff and Pras hit clutch triples in the second half when the Suns were making their push while Vasko continues to play stellar defence and Puvi is making all the right passes on offence (plus drawing up plays in the huddle!). The Suns did wake up in the second half and put up a great effort but it was too late and they did not have enough time left on the clock to come back. Abdul was held to single digits mostly by Vasko but I expect him to bounce back in the next one.
Final Score: Suns 45 - 49 Magic Player of the Game - BAKI KARUNANITHI 26pts/8rebs/3stls - 55.5% Shooting - 3 Triples
BUCKS vs CAVALIERS: This game had a lot of history between the players and both teams wanted to win it badly. The Cavaliers were sporting a brand new jersey which looked awesome (especially compared to their McDonald's ones) and so they were already starting the new year right. The other problem they were going to have to deal with was Mr. Chris Dsouza who has the height advantage over all the Cavs players and it did not help that GM Sayon was missing in this one as well. However, Harrison decided to step up and take on this challenge which is what star players do and I give him a lot of credit for making it tough on the Bucks big man. The biggest difference I see in Harrison's game is his willingness to put in extra effort on defensive end which is going to help the Cavs tremendously. He was also fantastic on the offensive end as he hit clutch triples throughout the game and finished with a game high 19. Down the stretch it was Yaga who made some nifty passes to his teammates for some huge baskets which got them the victory (7 assists for Yaga). The ball IQ and ball movement was on point in crunch time! The Bucks were missing Miresh and Sushan and they came out flat in this one...missed some shots they normally make...took some ill advised shots sometimes...and overall just did not have the same flow they normally have. Chris started getting aggressive in the second half but settled for long range shots in the first half. Randy led the way with a season high 14 but it was not enough on this night. If the season ended today they would currently miss the playoffs!...but luckily they still have games left to play.
Final Score: Bucks 37 - 45 Cavaliers Player of the Game - HARRISON PON 19pts/4rebs/4asts - 4 Triples
TIMBERWOLVES vs HAWKS: The two winless teams go at it in what seemed like a must win game for both squads. The problem for the Wolves was that they were missing 3 guys and were playing with 4 forwards/bigs and only Nick as their ball handler. With that being said...the Wolves outplayed the Hawks in the first half and led 16 to 9 at the break!!! The Hawks could not hit a shot and GM Patrick had to rip into the team at halftime for their lacklustre performance. The Hawks could not afford to waste this opportunity to turn around their season with a win and they finally turned up the intensity in the 2nd half. They decided to full court press right from the start of the 2nd half and they quickly turned this game around. The Wolves were gassed and being shorthanded really hurt in this one. Nirsan was too much to handle in the 2nd half as he finished with a game high 22 and his activity on defence was superb as he led by example in this one. Patty made quick subs in order to continue to full court press the Wolves and they got a much needed victory. They are currently only half a game back of a wildcard spot and there are still 6 games remaining. They are integrating a couple new players into their lineup but they have a chance to make some noise once they find their chemistry. Twolves just need to get a full team out there in order to compete and they also have time to turn around their season.
Final Score: Twolves 36 - 48 Hawks Player of the Game - NIRSAN KUNARATNAM 22pts/14rebs/3asts/4stls/1blk - 60% Shooting - 2 Triples
PISTONS vs RAPTORS: The last game of the night was a blowout and the Pistons only had 5 guys show up. Superstar Kris did not want to root against the Raps so he decided to go watch the actual NBA Raps instead. Manish and former GM Sugee were also missing in action...Sugee still has a knee injury and since he does not actually coach, I guess the team decided they don't need a mascot either. With all that being said, this game could have been boring and hard to watch but shoutout to Mr. Davy f**king Wong who put on a performance for the history books. The Pistons were forced to play zone with only 5 guys playing and you knew this would be a problem against the long range shooters of the Raps. Davy was ruthless as he kept connecting on open three after three and had whoever was left in the building going bananas. He set the ETBL record with 12 triples in a game and dropped a 40 piece on the Pistons!!! A lot was expected from him this season and he showed us something special in this game. Louie hit 5 triples and handed out 7 dimes and after all the hard luck that went the Raps way...it was finally nice to see them get a few breaks and literally break the other team. Cameron had his best game of the season with 25 and 11 as he did all he could to make this respectable. The Pistons have lost 2 in a row and have dropped to 7th in the standings and they will get the surging Heat next game.
Final Score: Pistons 53 - 75 Raptors Player of the Game - DAVY WONG 40pts/3rebs/2asts/1stl/0tos - 56% Shooting - 12 Triples
Written by: Kisho (Commissioner)