2013-14 Hoops – PLAYOFFS Week 1 (March 9)

Updated: March 11, 2014

147 Days. That is how many have passed from Opening Tip in Week 1 until Sunday for the Opening Round of the Playoffs.  So much happened during those 147 days and Sunday proved that the Regular Season certainly matters — a lot.  In ALL 6 games on Sunday Night, the higher-seeded Teams prevailed.  Those 6 Teams have moved closer to being the final team left standing in 35 days (from Sunday Night) on April 13 Hoops League Championship.  The other 6 squads have the moved that much closer to extinction.  One noticeable change from Regular Season to the Playoffs was the defensive intensity shown by every team. Scoring was WAY DOWN… I expect that trend to continue. Tons of Hoops left to be played still.  Before we get too far into the Wrap-Up for the Playoffs, here is Weekly Highlight Video – Playoff Week 1 Edition.

Also, I want to be the first to Congratulate the 17 All Hoops Team members, 16 of which are active, in alphabetical order:

Austin Brown – Team Schwartz

Bradley Deutsch – Team Maione

Ben Lazarov – Team Lalez

Benny Lalez – Team Lalez

Brennan Keller – Team Lalez

MVP and Captain** Chris Wroblewski – Team Maione

Darren Angell – Team Lalez

David Gershenzon – Team Lalez

Captain* Eytan Azaria – Team Lalez

Jabarri Reynolds – Team Bauer

Jason Vismantas – Team Schwartz

Josh Bartelstein – Team Maione

Josh Davis – Team Kozin

Kyle Daniels – Team Apuli

Matt Wolk – Team Kozin

Todd Siegel – Team Shamberg

(IR) Zach Bulwa – Team Harmelech

Congratulations to all of you and especially the guy with the most votes, Hoops League MVP, Chris Wroblewski!  Remember the All Hoops Team was voted on solely by the Players in the League.  All Hoops Team members are eligible to compete in All Hoops Team Festivities on Championship Night, unless of course they are playing for the Championship!  The 2 highest vote getters among Players not in the Championship will serve as Captains on and pick Teams schoolyard style as part of the All Hoops Team Festivities.  Alternates for Players in the Championship Game will be revealed at another time.

Let’s get back to the Playoffs shall we? Here is a link to an updated Playoff BRACKET.

Here’s where are after last Sunday — The top 4 seed remain in the No Loss Bracket: 1. Team Lalez, 2. Team Goldin, 3. Team Maione and 4. Team Kozin.. Those 4 Teams will do battle in what could be a couple of the more exciting games we’ve had this Season.

Then we have 6 Teams in the 1 Loss Bracket: 5. Team Harmelech, 6. Team Zimmerman, 7. Team Schwartz, 8. Team Apuli, 9. Team Holzman, 10. Team Bauer.. The lower 4 seeds will play each other and the winners will face-off with Team Harmelech or Team Zimmerman in a double dip on Sunday Night.

Finally, we have 2 Teams that are down to their last life in the 2 Loss Bracket: 11. Team Eilian and 12. Team Shamberg.  They are off this week, so they have extra time to regain their composure as they will face-off in the first Elimination Game of the Season in Week 3 of the Playoffs.

We’re going to Preview the Games similarly to Last Week..

No Loss Bracket

1. Team Lalez (Highland Pop) v. 4. Team Kozin (SLA Insurance) 

As evidenced by the All Hoops Team vote, 1. Team Lalez is very well-respected among the other Teams in the League.  In total, 6 Players were selected from the top seed; their depth is how they managed to win (decidedly) without their top vote getter, Eytan “get back soon!” Azaria, in the Opening Round on Sunday Night.  They took it to Team Apuli, in what turned out to be a really physical contest.  Ben “big time” Lazarov led the way with 19 and made a few key shots to swing the momentum in the first half. He has made a habit over the years in making big play in big Playoff moments.  As for Team Kozin, they didn’t have the blow-out win Team Lalez had on Sunday nor do they as many All Hoops Team members.. However, what’s truly important is that after one week of the Playoffs, they remain unbeaten.  They held on tightly to a 2pt victory with Team Harmelech on Sunday Night.  They were up 10+ in the second half, but Team Harmelech just wouldn’t go away. Team Kozin has been in close games all season and as I mentioned in the Playoff Preview, that experience has already paid off.

It’s fitting that these two teams will cross paths on Sunday in the No Loss Bracket as they were the final 2 unbeaten Teams in the Regular Season.  Back over Thanksgiving, it was Team Lalez who gave Team Kozin their first loss on the year.  These two Teams both have size, shooters, and speed.  It’s going to be a heavyweight fight in every sense of the word. Both Teams are a little banged up right now, but that is the case for seemingly everyone this time of year.. The Winner of this Game will have a significantly easier road the rest of the way, as the Loser heads to the 1 Loss Bracket, where they will have to win several games just to earn another shot at exacting some revenge.  Very pumped for this one.

2. Team Goldin (Sanders Court Pediatrics) v. 3. Team Maione (B. Weinstein Associates)

Conspicuously absent from the All Hoops Team is any member of the 2 seed Team Goldin.  Not going to make a bigger deal out of it than is necessary, but personally I’d think a few guys from the Western Conference champs would have made it.. Could be their style of play, they definitely “aggravate” their opponents.  Anyways, this is truly as exciting a matchup as we can ask for this early on in the Playoffs.  Both Teams tied atop the Western Conference after 18 weeks, splitting their head to heads at one a piece. Team Goldin won on their Conference Record tiebreaker. Both Teams handled their business in the Opening Round and it seems as if they were destined to meet here at this point.  Team Maione has one of the top Offenses if not THE top, and Team Goldin makes their money on the defensive end where they make the other team earn every last point.  The story will be how many open shots Team Maione can create, and what percentage of those they knock down.  Chris “League MVP” Wroblewski will have to assert himself on the Offensive end and make sure that his Team does not waist any possessions.

Get your popcorn ready folks, the opening set of Games on Sunday are truly “must see.”

1 Loss Bracket (1st set of Games)

7. Team Schwartz (Stems) v. 10. Team Bauer (Jam ‘n Honey)

8. Team Apuli (Wrigley View Rooftop) v. 9. Team Holzman (Groupon) 

Going to take the first set of 1 Loss Bracket Games together to explain how these matchups came to be to those who don’t feel like dissecting the entire Bracket.   6 Teams enter this Week as 1 Loss Teams and we reseeded with the two highest seeds getting a bye of sorts (think the NFL Playoffs).. Those two teams were 5. Team Harmelech and 6. Team Zimmerman.  Then the top seed that didn’t get the Bye, 7. Team Schwartz, gets the “benefit” of playing the lowest seed out of the 1 Loss Teams, 10. Team Bauer.  That leaves 8. Team Apuli v. 9. Team Holzman.   How the winners matchup with two Teams on bye will be explained below.

Team Schwartz has the “Chalk” thing working in their favor as they will enter this pivotal game as the higher-seed.  However, they are coming into this one fresh off a Playoff Loss Team Goldin and 10. Team Bauer is flying high after defeating Team Eilian last week.  These two teams met just once in the Regular Season and that was all the way back in Week 1 on Oct. 13,2013.. Team Bauer took that one.. Not sure how much relevance that holds at this point.  Team Schwartz will likely be without part of their heart and sole Jon “be Greater Than” Sider once again this week.  As for Team Bauer, they are rocking at 100% right now and played what could have been their best ball of the Season last week.  This paragraph might make it seem like Team Bauer should have the upper hand, but I think it’s more of a toss-up than anything else.. As is usually the case in a 7/10 matchup.  All Hoops Teamer Jabarri “League Leading Scorer” Reynolds will have to keep the hot hand to help provide the Offensive punch for these guys.  Team Schwartz wants to go zone whenever possible and make Teams beat them from the outside… This one could come down to who get’s the last hot hand.

Team Apuli, like Team Schwartz, enters as the high-seed in their Game.  However, they have not been playing their best basketball as of late.  They did see the return of Dan “Mount” Stone which should mean good things for them as the Playoffs progress.  Team Holzman is coming off an impressive win over Team Shamberg, to remain in the 1 Loss Bracket.  EJ “get on my back” Silver was so impressive, having a team high 27 points on the night.   These two Teams have tangled twice on the year, both times early in 2013, but Team Holzman did get the W both times.  They seem to have Team Apuli’s number.. However, I’ve always been in the camp that is difficult to beat a team three straight times in anything.. Team Apuli will be coming out swinging..  The Loser of this one will be down their last life.

1 Loss Bracket (2nd set of Games)

5. Team Harmelech (iShot) v. ??????

6. Team Zimmerman (Teplitz & Bell) v. ??????

These two squads will face the Winners of the first set of 1 Loss Bracket Games, immediately after on Sunday Night. As the higher seed of the two, 5. Team Harmelech, will play whoever is the lower-seed among the two winners.  6. Team Zimmerman will take on the Team.   All we know is Team Harmelech can’t face 7. Team Schwartz (because they’d automatically be the highest seed among winners) and Team Zimmerman can’t face 10. Team Bauer (because they’d automatically be the lowest seed among winners).

Both Team Harmelech and Team Zimmerman are coming off losses, but of a different type.  Team Harmelech lost by just two points and really could have come out on top of their Opening Round Game.  Team Zimmerman, just didn’t have their best stuff and Team Maione opened up a lead early..  In both cases, they will need to shake it off quickly, as they are going to go toe to toe with a Team fresh off a Playoff win.  That may be an advantage in the second half as the other teams get tired, however, if they aren’t ready to get off to a good start (like last Sunday), it could be too little too late.  Both Teams are as talented as they come, so if they do bring their A-games, it would be no surprise to see both earning their first Playoff wins.

Stay tuned.

2 Loss Bracket – Next Week – Elimination Game

11. Team Eilian (Crystal Lake Chrysler Dodge Jeep) v. 12. Team Shamberg (Sunset Foods)

A deep Preview will be coming your way next week for this one.  Rest up.  Hydrate with Greater Than.  Watch game tape (highlight films)… Who will fall?

Thanks for reading.  Registration opened for the Summer Leagues this Week so if you have any questions please let me know! See you Sunday!

– Holden