2013-14 Hoops – PLAYOFFS Week 3 (March 23)

Updated: March 25, 2014

…and then there were TEN.  Sunday saw our first two ELIMINATION GAMES and man were they both dousies.   The story will read pretty similarly coming out of both of those games.. Team Eilian wins by three points!  More on that later (scroll down for Team Apuli and Team Shamberg Season Ending Wrap-Ups)..  Next Sunday will see FIVE more ELIMINATIONS!  Link Time!  Updated Playoff BRACKET.   Here’s a link to the Weekly Video Highlights  and finally All Hoops Team Roster (scroll down a bit).

Quick synopsis of where we sit currently after 3 Weeks of Playoffs — There is one Team left in the No Loss Bracket — Shocker, it’s 1. Team Lalez.  They will be off this week after three consecutive wins in the No Loss Bracket.

As for the 1 Loss Bracket, there are just two Teams.. 2. Team Goldin and 3. Team Maione.. They absolutely battled two weeks ago and as luck would have it, they will face-off once again next Sunday.

Then there’s everyone else.. From here on out all of these Teams are in ELIMINATION GAMES.. It’s Win or Go Home.. 4. Team Kozin, 5. Team Harmelech, 6. Team Zimmerman, 7. Team Schwartz, 9. Team Holzman, 10. Team Bauer and Elimination Slayer 11. Team Eilian… All of these squads, with the exception of Team Zimmerman, will be battling it out with one another come Sunday Night.

Let’s Preview shall we..

No Loss Bracket  

1. Team Lalez (Highland Pop)

After netting another impressive Playoff W these guys have earned a week off..  They’ve probably earned more than that since they have won 20 of 21 games this Season, but 1 week is all they get!  It was the usual suspects of David “D.D.S.” Gershenzon and Eytan “matchup nightmare” Azaria who had 25 and 20 points respectively.   3. Team Maione gave them all they could ask for and actually led most of the game until the closing moments..  Team Lalez at this point just expects to win and that heir of self-confidence goes a long way in re-assuring yourselves “we got this” even after an onslaught from the other Team.  There are several NCAA Teams that were bounced early who could learn something from Team Lalez in that regard.   Their next Game will be in two weeks and it will be against the Winner of the huge 1 Loss Rematch between 2. Team Goldin and 3. Team Maione.  On that Week 5 night, so very much will be at stake.. For Team Lalez they can send whoever that is down to the 2 Loss Bracket, or they could suffer their first L of the Playoffs and have an immediate rematch with that Team.  Either way, one of the favorites for the Crown will leave that scenario with 2 Losses.

1 Loss Bracket

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

I knew in my heart of hearts that we’d see this matchup again before the close of the Season (and this still might not be the last time).. These two have tangled 3 times this Season with Team Maione leading the season series 2-1. Each one has looked like a heavyweight fight.   All that matters right now is that once again on Sunday they will line it up across from one another with a crucial 2nd Loss hanging in the balance.   The winner gets another crack at 1. Team Lalez and the Loser will head to the end of the 2 Loss Bracket where they will have to tangle with whoever streaks through that Bracket.

2. Team Goldin is heading into next Sunday Night off of 2 HUGE Ws from this past Sunday.  First they knocked-off the previously en fuego 10. Team Bauer and then right after that they sent 6. Team Zimmerman to the 2 Loss Bracket as well.  It was a phenomenal rebound for these guys who last week suffered a heartbreaking loss to 3. Team Maione.  The Playoffs are too long and too grueling to let any one game get you down and Team Goldin showed just how quickly they can get right back on track.  Quickly — on Sunday Night these guys had the play of the year..  And I didn’t get it on camera.  I’m sick about it.  It was a brother alley-oop connection — Brandon “lobbed” Lathon and Carlos “can jump out of the building” Banks.  Man oh man.  Sorry guys.  I know it’s hard while you are playing but if you could just give me some sort of hand signal next time…

3. Team Maione on the other hand, are coming off of their first Loss of the Playoffs.  Although, I’m not sure they should (or do) feel very defeated.  They led the way with the #1 Team in the land for much of the game and did so without three of their regular starters.  They had just 5 guys.  Now they had 5 that anyone would be happy to have, but 5 nonetheless.  They were a couple in and outs away from stealing one..  They played their hearts out and I think this could be good for them in this sense.. All 8 of their guys for the rest of the way should have great confidence.  They just need to look back to this game and know that each and everyone of them can put the ball in the basket. That’s a recipe for success.

Something will have to give with these two on Sunday Night and yes I will try to have the Camera ready.

2 Loss Bracket – ELIMINATION GAMES (1st Set of Games)

5. Team Harmelech (iShot) v. 11. Team Eilian (Crystal Lake Jeep) 

Two Teams heading in seemingly different directions right now.. However, their paths are certainly going to cross on Sunday Night.  5. Team Harmlech enters this ELIMINATION Game coming off of two straight Playoff Losses.. They did have a week to clear their heads and hopefully heal their bodies a bit.. As for 11. Team Eilian, last week was without a doubt the highlight of their Season (thus far).  They won not one, but two ELIMINATION Games, each by 3 points.  Those close games provided such heartbreak during the Regular Season, but also a significant amount of experience.  Team Eilian certainly learned from their past games and did what was needed last week.. Eliminating 12. Team Shamberg and 8. Team Apuli in one night.  If Team Eilian can knock off Team Harmelech, they will cement their “grim reaper” nickname.   All season long ,their talent has been touting how their record is not indicative of their skill level by yours truly, and last Sunday they made me look at least a little smart. Thanks for that.

I anticipate this one to be an up and down affair. Both Teams want to move the ball as several guys on both Teams are comfortable with the ball in the open court.  This game is going to come down to shot selection and rebounding.   This one has potential to be the ELIMINATION Game of the Night if both Teams bring their A Game.  I expect Team Harmelech to be rested and ready for the challenge.  The winner will play immediately following this one, and with any luck in their second game, can be looking at the first Triple Header of the Season.  HYDRATE.

7. Team Schwartz (Stems) v. 9. Team Holzman (Groupon)

These two squads are going to have their first taste of ELIMINATION on Sunday Night. 9. Team Holzman started the Playoffs with a Loss already tacked on but managed to win their first two Playoff Games before falling in their second game of a Double Header last week to 6. Team Zimmerman.  7. Team Schwartz have dropped their two Playoff Games thus far, however their schedule has certainly been a rough one.  Both have had an extra week to prep/sleep/decompress from the rigors of the Playoffs.   I think the break came at the perfect time for Team Schwartz who really needed a bit of time to shake off the past few weeks. As for Team Holzman, they were playing some of their best Hoops of the Season and hopefully for their sake the extra week off does not derail any momentum they had been building.  Happy Birthday goes out to Josh “Taco Meat” Cowin.. Will the B-Day Boy get a W? Or 2?  Or 3?  That’s the thing for these two Teams.. You have to take it one game at a time of course.. BUT it’s really difficult to say okay, “we’re going to give it 100% in this game” knowing the possibility for not one but two more ELIMINATION games are on the Horizon for Sunday Night.  I know I don’t need to tell these two Teams.. but get some GREATER THAN and start drinking it stat.  Finally, just want to give a “get well soon!” to Jon Sider of Team Schwartz and GT.   Good Luck to both Teams.

2 Loss Bracket – ELIMINATION GAMES (2nd Set of Games)

4. Team Kozin (SLA Insurance) v. ?????

They didn’t have their best week from field on Sunday Night.  They got many of their normal looks but the ball just didn’t seem to stay down when it has so often for them all season long.  That happens.  After speaking with them after the game on Sunday Night they seem unaffected by their most recent loss to 6. Team Zimmerman.  They have a real veteran feel to them.. They know what’s in-store and what they need to do in order to go where they want to go.   This is what we know right now. At 7pm they will play in an ELIMINATION game. Their first.  They will play the lowest seed of the Teams that remain.. That group will be made of 10. Team Bauer and the winners of the ELIMINATION Games at 6pm.   The Game they need to focus their attention on is really 5. Team Harmelech v. 11. Team Eilian.. If 5. Team Harmelech wins, 10. Team Bauer will automatically be the lowest seed left and will face Team Kozin.  If 11. Team Eilian wins, they will automatically be the lowest seed left and they will face Team Kozin..  Not sure if Team Kozin has a preference as both of their potential opponents are playing well right now.. If they win their first game at 7pm they will play the Winner of the other ELIMINATION Game taking place at 7pm, immediately following the conclusion of those games.  Team Kozin is hoping for two Ws on Sunday Night and they have everything they need to make that happen.

10. Team Bauer (Jam ‘n Honey) v. ?????

They just ran into a buzz saw last Sunday.  Team Bauer had won three straight Playoff Games heading into last Sunday with 2. Team Goldin.. But Team Goldin was coming off their first loss since December and were just simply uber-focused on getting back on track. It happens.  I think Team Bauer is better with their backs against the wall anyways — which is right where they find themselves for the remainder of the Playoffs.  Much like 4. Team Kozin, they await the Winners of the 1st set of ELIMINATION Games.  If 5. Team Harmelech beats 11. Team Eilian, Team Bauer plays Team Kozin.. If 11. Team Eilian wins, than Team Bauer will take on the Winner of 7. Team Schwartz v. 9. Team Holzman..  Knowing Team Bauer like I do at this point, I’m not sure they care who they line-up against.. Either way, to stay alive they’ll need to win their first game at 7pm and than another one at 8pm against the other Winner of the other 7pm ELIMINATION Game.  They could be in for a long night.. Just two weeks ago they won 2 straight Playoff Games in the same night.. They know how to get this done.. Beware.

2 Loss Bracket – ELIMINATION GAMES (3rd Set of Games)

????? v. ?????

Simply put.. Six Teams were mentioned in the ELIMINATION GAMES above.. Only 1 will survive. Period. That Team will have to win TWO or maybe THREE games on Sunday Night. Also, waiting after their crazy Week 4 will be a date with 6. Team Zimmerman in Week 5. It’s going to be quite a ride.

Season Ending Wrap-Ups

8. Team Apuli (Wrigley View Rooftop)

Team Apuli started out the Hoops season as one of the most dangerous Teams in the land.  They had the biggest front-line in the League and a bunch of outside shooting to go along with it.. Somewhere around Thanksgiving the opening day roster started to have time conflicts with games and a revamped Team Apuli was formed.  While they were still tough to deal with on a weekly basis they never truly regained that dangerous form from early on.  They showed glimpses in the Playoffs but their seeding and match-ups did them no favors along the way.. They ran into 1. Team Lalez and then the next week 9. Team Holzman who for whatever reason had their number all year (going 3-0 vs. them)..  They put up a valiant fight against 11. Team Eilian but came up just a bit short.  This group has enough in them to make a run at Championship down the line..Kyle “Joakim” Daniels got an All-Hoops nod from his peers and he’ll certainly be a piece to build around.  Wouldn’t surprise me one bit if they are one of the Teams making the jump into the top tier for 2014-15. Just need to figure out everyone’s schedule before hand.  They of course will have the Summer League first and Captain Justin always is a factor when building his Summer League Teams.  Good Things are ahead.  Thanks for playing guys.

12. Team Shamberg (Sunset Foods)

Team Shamberg started off the year.. late.  They just couldn’t get it going early on as a whole 44-minute game just kept escaping them.  However, as the Calendar turned to December they finally flipped the switch and were like a new Team.  The second half of the Season they were far from the #12 spot where they finished in the Standings (thanks to that slow start)..  Captain Shamberg certainly has a lot of pieces to work with going forward for next year.  All-Hoops member Todd Siegel will be back and late-season additions Jake Preskill and Connor Nass could do wonders for this bunch if they can play a full-season together.  Starting with 1 Loss in the Playoffs really handcuffed these guys as their margin for error was even smaller but they fought hard in two straight Playoff Games.  Didn’t get the result they wanted but nothing to shake their heads at.  Again, lots of talent on this crew and I’d be shocked if they didn’t make a leap into the Top 8 for 2014-15.   Thanks guys.

Everyone have a great week.  See you Sunday.

– Holden