The Final 4 was filled with teams that worked their tails off to get to this point...it is definitely an accomplishment to get this far and they should all be proud of that...but now we are down to the final 2 and they will duke it out on Sunday April 7th @6pm where we will crown our Season 4 Champions! Shout out to Nirsan for helping with the scoreboard as he did a flawless job! The All-Star Fest will be held on April 14th @530pm and hope to see everyone there! Let's get right to it.
MAGIC vs WARRIORS: The rookie sensations vs the defending champs in what figured to be an incredible game. The Warriors were missing their superstar Amit Sieukumar which made it feel like things could swing heavily in the favor of the Magic. He was apparently out of the country for work and the Warriors would have to dig deep and rely on their other veterans/stars. The Magic paid and rented out the gym an hour before the game which showed their level of commitment and they were seen strategizing and working on their plays. As for the game, things were close early on but the Magic eventually built a 24 to 15 lead in the first half. Thanujaan would call a timeout to stop the bleeding even though generally teams would save their timeouts for the 2nd half as it carries over. But this was an excellent call by Thanu as the team composed itself and went on a run playing amazingly on both ends! They would actually take a 2pt lead into the half (32 to 30) and the play of Michael Manansala stood out especially as he was crashing the boards and hitting clutch bombs from the outside (finishing with 12pts/8rebs). He was asked to play a lot of minutes due to them missing Amit and Jonathan and he responded with arguably his best game of the season. He has made impact plays on both sides of the ball at key times all season and GM Gautham deserves credit for drafting him. Bahee was tremendous as a playmaker in this one finishing with 7 assists and found Michael a few times in the corner for open 3s! He has led this team in assists for 2 straight seasons and has played the point forward role to perfection. The 2nd half was carried by the other stars on the team in Gopal and Thanu who combined for 36 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists and 5 steals!! Gopal took the challenge head on and was terrific especially from the perimeter where he kept splashing triples or he would get to the line and made all 8 of his freethrows. They were missing their first rounder in this one but Gops filled in admirably for him. The Magic held strong and were down only 1 (46 to 47) but the Dubs pushed it but Gopal and Thanu made some clutch baskets to push the lead to 7 and they would hold on for the victory. This was not the same Magic team I had previously come to expect...they did not even full court trap once in the game...they relied on ISO ball far too many times...they took out of rhythm 3 point shots throughout the game...they stepped out of character for major periods of the game and it cost them in the end. This was an opportunity they had to take advantage of...a Warriors team that was not fully available...it is something they will be thinking about for awhile. Rameez was the only brightspot as he made some big time plays for them which kept the game close but in the end the Magical season is finally over.
Final Score: Magic 53 - 62 Warriors Player of the Game - GOPAL NARASIMHAIAH 21pts/7rebs/2asts/2stls - 62.5%Shooting - 3 Triples - 8/8 FT
SIXERS vs PISTONS: This was a tale of two hungry teams...two athletic squads...two vocal GM's...two black jersey teams lol. Co-GM Sugee/Sanjoo were looking to make their first finals ever but early on the Sixers came out firing and led 21 to 14 thanks to Flash aka Nirosan as he was feeling it from long range. He finished 5 for 6 from three point range and most of them were off the dribble in the defenders face! He had 25 points and did all he could to cement their names into the Finals. Sanjoo helped steady the Pistons with 2 triples early on which was big as the Sixers were playing zone (not sure exactly why) and he made them pay for it. Sugee also hit a couple triples and noone was near him on both of those...obviously the attention was on Kris but they were allowing him or Cameron to pick them apart with their passes once they felt that one side of the zone was overloaded. The Sixers had multiple athletic wings and would have loved to see them adjust their gameplan rather than sitting back in the zone. The Pistons are also a poor rebounding team and so this decision was definitely a curious one. Kris was unbelievable once again and finished with 30 on 16 shots and was huge on the boards with 11! At this point, nothing he does is suprising but to be so calm during pressure moments is amazing to watch. He was able to navigate through the Sixers defence and make the right play time and time again. The thing that did suprise me however was his leadership skills and the way he has communicated with his teammates...he has been vocal but always encouraging and making sure they stay confident throughout the game...he has never shortchanged their contributions and has empowered them to keep going...they definitely did in this one as every player on the team had a bucket and at least 5 players had 6 or more points! The Pistons ran away with it in the 2nd half and they showed why they deserved to be in the finals. The Sixers got 41 combined from Kevin and Flash but the rest struggled to help them out. It was definitely a lot of ISO ball as they reverted back to their old ways and it worked for their main guys as they could create off the dribble but the role players struggled to get open shots and find their rhythm. I am sure they would love to have that 2nd half back and replay it but it was still a good season for them considering how they played early on...they proved that small ball could work and I am looking forward to seeing how their offseason goes. Pistons get the Defending Champs in the Finals!
Final Score: Sixers 50 - 64 Pistons Player of the Game - KRISOTH GNANENTHRA 30pts/11rebs/3asts/1blk - 62.5%Shooting - 4 Triples
Written by: Kisho (Commissioner)