Week 11 was pretty incredible to say the least! Nothing can be predicted at this point from week to week (besides the Twolves) and there has been so many moving parts this season. We are off this week because of the long weekend but after that we are going to witness a crazy finish. Let's get right to it!
TIMBERWOLVES vs NUGGETS: The Nuggets had been struggling as soon as the calendar flipped to 2019 but they were able to finally feast on some Wolves in this one. The Wolves showed up with their depleted lineup and they kept it respectable in the first half which they have been doing consistently but they run out of gas in the 2nd half as usual. Javan finally had a breakout game dropping a season high 22 points and he was fully engaged and aggressive in this one. Dwayne had an all around gem of a game as he posted a 12pts/10rebs/5asts/7stls and 2 blocks!! He was a perfect 5 for 5 from the field and he was rediculous in this one. Brendan also came to play and showed off some impressive passes and was very active on defence with 4 steals! This team will need these 3 guys to show some consistency if they want to achieve their goal this season. They had good ball movement and took excellent shots all game and hopefully they can build on this performance. The Twolves have been eliminated from making the postseason this season but they will get the number 1 selection in next year's draft.
Final Score: Wolves 43 - 56 Nuggets Player of the Game - JAVAN WHITTLE 22pts/5rebs/4asts/2stls/0to - 66.5% Shooting
PACERS vs HAWKS: Holy crap! The Hawks just stunned the ETBL world by beating the 7-1 Pacers!!! Man, where do I start? Maybe I should first discuss how initially the Hawks team was not happy about being scheduled against the top team in the league...or maybe about how mad they were about the power rankings written by 'Bubba Buckets'...but whatever they used as motivation...they should bottle it up and keep it for future use as they put on a show this past Sunday! They were battling for their playoff lives and they knew how big a victory this would be and they came out and delivered as a team. Did the Pacers underestimate them a bit? Maybe...but at the end of the first half it was a tie game and so that should have indicated to them how serious the Hawks were in this one. So you would expect the top team to come out strong in the 2nd half but the Hawks took it to another level with their defence and overall intensity. Every shot the Hawks made was followed with a loud ovation from the bench and everyone was genuinely pulling for each other which I believe made a huge difference in this one. They played like it was a playoff game and Nirsan played like an MVP as he worked hard on both ends of the floor. Everyone on the team made timely shots which were usually generated by great passing as they had a total of 19 assists for the game!! This Hawks team looked like a completely new team in this one and they are coming together at the right time. They are 4-1 in their last 5 games and are holding on tightly to the last playoff spot. The Pacers got a great game from Akshay and Paolo (20pts and 16pts respectively) and still lost which shows you how well the Hawks played.
Final Score: Pacers 50 - 68 Hawks Player of the Game - NIRSAN KUNARATNAM 25pts/16rebs/4asts/4stls/1to - 50% Shooting
HEAT vs RAPTORS: The Raps are trying to keep their postseason aspirations alive and it definitely hurt that the Hawks had just beaten the Pacers right before their game. That meant this game would pretty much have to be a must win situation against a solid team in the Heat. All season the Raps have battled tough and lost a ton of close games and it was only fitting that they finally caught some breaks and won a close game! Their zone and the extra attention paid to Milton was amazing and Shawn did a heck of a job making it as tough as possible on him to get good looks. The Heat were missing Evan and Glenn who are dealing with injuries which meant others had to step up in their absence. Fasel was excellent with 18/12/2 on 50% shooting and really put pressure on the Raps with his hustle and energy. He hit a shot early in the 2nd half to give the Heat a 40 to 28 lead and it looked like this might be too much for the Raps to overcome...but they have shown all season that they cannot be counted out and they proved it once again. They go on a 11 to 1 run to cut the lead to 2 which was sparked by an 'and1' by Mr. Andy Leung! Shawn followed that up with a basket and then Davy was gravy after that. He had a game high 30 and hit a clutch shot with a minute left in the game to pretty much seal it for the Raps. They are now just one game back of a playoff spot with 2 games remaining and they will get the winless Twolves next. #anythingispossible
Final Score: Heat 49 - 54 Raptors Player of the Game - DAVY WONG 30pts/4rebs/3asts/2stls - 5 Triples
HORNETS vs SIXERS: The Sixers had climbed back up to .500 with back to back wins against the teams in the bottom portion of the standings (Raps, Twolves) but they now had a chance to make a little statement against the Hornets...and in the first half they did just that by shooting the lights out and dropping 41 on em. Sarwar was able to find open space in the corners and nailed long range bombs and finished his 3rd consecutive game with double digit points (13). He just goes about his business and the Sixers are 4-1 when he scores in double digits and continues to be an underrated part of this team. Ara did a great job finding open shooters and cutters in this one and although his scoring is down this season he has managed to be alot more efficient and has been showing off his passing skills. These are two teams that are undersized and rely on their skill and speed but the Sixers also showed off their shooting touch and pretty much won the game in the first half. In the 2nd half there were lots of complaints by the Hornets over foul calls but in the end they did shoot a game high 19 freethrows and managed to only hit 6. They also shot 4 for 24 from deep and unless the Refs were shooting those...they did not cause them to lose the game. Nishan had a near triple double with 9/10/9 while Asok was solid with 12 and 8. The defence let them down and they are going to have to be tighter with their zone and with their rebounding. The Sixers are on a roll and look to continue that against the Pacers.
Final Score: Hornets 42 - 60 Sixers Player of the Game - NIROSAN PRABA 17pts/3rebs/3asts/1stl/2to - 5 Triples
CAVALIERS vs LAKERS: This was a fun matchup as we had former teammates Jenush and GM Sayon going up against each other while GM Somi was also taking on Harrison. The Lakers confidence is at an all-time high (especially Usamah) after rolling 4 straight but this was suppose to be a tough test for them. They came out strong on both ends in the first half and GM Somi really has his players playing their roles. Vinoth was a force defensively just getting his hands on everything...Ragu was vocal/active and hit some timely shots...while Usamah was playing the role of facilitator extremely well as he finished with a team high 6 assists. Somi also has been on quite a roll in the past 3 games as he has shot a combined 23 for 48. Just to put that in context...he made a combined 23 field goals in his first 6 games! His shot selection has improved drastically and the return of his star player has helped his game immensely. Now only if his star player would stop doing through the leg layups on fastbreaks and missing them...Somi could sleep even better at night. Harrison struggled with his shot and finished with a season low 11 points but he has had a great season so far and so you could excuse him for an off shooting night. Ainky had a good look at a 3 in the dying moments to cut the lead to 1 but it was not meant to be. The Lakeshow continues and they are still undefeated in 2019! They are now sitting pretty with the 3rd seed overall.
Final Score: Cavs 43 - 47 Lakers Player of the Game - SOMI RAVIN 16pts/2rebs/2asts/2stls - 3 Triples - 50% Shooting
SUNS vs WARRIORS: The last game of the night featured the Suns and Dubs in what was suppose to be a good battle. The Warriors however took it to the Suns early on and built a 14 point lead in the first half. Gopal was incredible in this one as he went perfect from beyond the arc and had a season high 18 points on only 7 shots! He also matched his season high with 13 boards and he ended up being the x-factor in this one. It seems as though somebody always steps up for the Dubs and it was Gopal's turn today and then collectively the rest of the team put alot of pressure on the defensive end against Abdul, Uma and Zanoon to limit their effectiveness. These 3 went a combined 5 for 32 and if it wasn't for GM Jasinthan scoring 17...this game would have been even uglier. The Suns are now 4-5 and are sitting in the 11th spot in the standings and are fighting to stay in the playoff picture which I thought I would never say about this team. They have alot of talent but the chemistry has not been there (as well as their defence). It almost seems like they are just taking turns on offence and playing alot of ISO ball instead of generating offence for each other. That might work against some teams but not against this squad as they have multiple defenders that can hold their own. When they set screens and moved without the ball they were able to find Jasinthan on backcuts for easy looks. I still have not completely written off the Suns but they are going to make their road even more difficult by entering the playoffs as a low seed. The Warriors are 2nd in the standings and have now won 3 in a row.
Final Score: Suns 36 - 50 Warriors Player of the Game - GOPAL NARASIMHAIAH 18pts/13rebs/1ast/1stl/1blk/1to - 4 Triples - 85.5% Shooting
Written by: Kisho (Commissioner)