2013-14 Hoops – Week 11 (Jan. 12)

Updated: January 13, 2014

……… AND WE’RE BACK!  Hope everyone’s 2014 is off to a great start and that you got some nice R&R in over the break.  Feels like it’s been forever since we’ve laced up for the Hoops League… Truth is, it’s been just about a month since we’ve played due to Chicago’s warm and fuzzy Winter. All that matters though is our 2nd Half is officially underway and the #PlayoffPush is in full swing.  Wasn’t sure what to expect after such a long break in terms of level of play last night, but most teams looked like they had gotten some ball in during the break… Here’s a link to the Weekly Video Highlights. OK.. no place to start the first Power Rankings of 2014 than with the team that closed the 2013 Season on top..

Power Rankings

1. Team Lalez (Highland Pop) – 10-1, 1st in Eastern Conference

The weather last weekend not only caused to postpone games but we also lost the proper build that a meeting between #1 and #2 in the Power Rankings really deserves.  Team Lalez has been at the #1 spot most of the Season and for great reason since they had the best record in the League for much of 2013.  Their one blemish came all the way back in mid-November in the way of a 10-pt loss to Team Maione.  So Sunday’s rematch had more meaning to these guys than the just the #1 spot in the Power Rankings.  They needed to know that come Playoff time they could get the best of Team Maione… Sunday Night they did that as they matched Team Maione’s 10-pt win with a 10-pt victory of their own.  Also key, if there were to be a tie come the end of the Regular Season Team Lalez now shares the head to head tiebreaker with Team Maione instead of losing it..  So now to the actual game.. David “D.D.S.” Gershenzon picked up in 2014 right where he left off in 2013, netting 30 pts to lead all scorers.  Ben “Laz” Lazarov also was feeling it as he had 23 including a couple 3s that really swung the momentum permanently in his team’s favor late in the second half.  Obviously a lot of Hoops to be played but it seems that Team Lalez could be playing with the “home-court” advantage through Playoffs.

2. Team Harmelech (iShot) – 8-3, 2nd in Eastern Conference

Quietly (in hype, not on the court) Team Harmelech has really hunkered down and gone on a roll.   When they can get their whole squad in the gym (which was an issue in the first few weeks) they can go toe to toe with just about anyone.. and they’re showing it.  Zach “Happy Belated” Bulwa went for 23 points while his teammates Captain Sam “Melo” Harmelech and Ricky “aka Pacman’s owner” Silverman both got double doubles in their 2014 debuts.  At 8-3 they are in great shape to claim a top 4 seed and are still in play to track down the Conference crown from Team Lalez.  To do so, they are going to need to stay hot.. Getting a lot from Mike “new shoes” Maione will help a great deal.  Next week they will have Team Apuli to deal with.

3. Team Kozin (SLA Insurance) – 8-3, tied for 1st in Western Conference

Team Kozin starts 2014 the same way they started 2013.. with a big W.  The Break couldn’t have come at a better time for the Hoops League last undefeated bunch.. After their hot start they dropped a few games in late Novemeber and December.. It seemed as if the bounces they were getting in the season’s first couple of months were finally catching up with them post-Thanksgiving.  However, they came into the Gym Sunday Night with a sense of confidence and it showed throughout the night.  When these guys play within themselves and take good shots they really are tough to beat as they can get scoring from anyone that steps out on the court for them.  Leading the way for them this week was once again Josh “if you don’t put a hand in his face he’ll launch it from anywhere and its probably going in…” Davis who had THIRTY EIGHT POINTS.. So much for rust after the long break..  Next week they have a shot at really making a statement and also potentially shaking up the Power Rankings as they will face #1 Team Lalez in the @AcceleratedPT Game of the Week!

4. Team Maione (B. Weinstein Associates) – 8-3, tied for 1st in Western Conference

Truth be told, if you really needed to get one W in the Hoops League, are there 3 teams you’d pick before Team Maione.  No probably not.  They are a top squad and this week they just get the short-end of the stick after taking a Loss to #1 Team Lalez.  It’d be a bit more worrisome if they had been swept by Team Lalez as that could show a matchup issue for the Playoffs, however Team Maione already beat those guys earlier in the year.  Here’s the thing for them.. They get open shots whenever they want for the most part.  Everyone on the squad can create.  They missed Captain Anthony “twan” Maione’s energy a bit but it really just comes down to making a few extra jumpers for these guys.  They can put up 100 on anyone at any time and there’s ZERO reason to push the panic button here whatsoever. Chasing two in the Loss column might make it hard for these guys to catch Team Lalez for the #1 overall seed come Playoff time but I don’t think seed matters to these guys one bit.  Chris “copy/paste” Wroblewski has 21 on just 15 shots… Week in and week out one of the most fun to watch.  Next week, they’ll try to get back on track against Team Eilian.

5. Team Goldin (Sanders Court Pediatrics) – 6-5, tied for 3rd in Western Conference

Team Goldin did what many teams couldn’t do in 2013.  They won on Sunday Night with just 5 guys.  That’s just so tough to do in a 44-minute game.  Major props to these guys for that.  Captain Danny “DG” Goldin went for 23 pts, Jake “Chris” Fowler went for 19 as he had his 3ball rollin’ and Garrett “down on the block” Staniec went for 16 and 16.  This crew might be the wild card of the whole League as we start to focus in a bit more on the Playoffs.  If they can get the rest of their crew to the Gym consistently and have a bench to work with these guys might end up crashing the Top 4 party and making a really deep run come March and April.  Just don’t sleep on Team Goldin. You’ve been warned.

6. Team Apuli (Wrigley View Rooftop) – 6-5, tied for 3rd in Western Conference

If Vegas had eyes on All Sports Series.. Well Team Apuli would be the most maddening team around.  It’s to the point where whatever your hunch is about their game before they tip, the opposite is surely to happen come the final whistle.  They win when they are the underdog and they just can’t seem to close out the ones they likely should take.  In theory, they should probably try to bottom out and become the #12 Seed come Playoff Time so they are always playing as the underdog — surely they’ll win the whole thing then.. Kidding. Mostly.  Anyways, the shorthanded Team Apuli grabbed a W to get back over .500 and start off 2014 right.  Kyle “someone box him out already!” Daniels had another 20+ pts / 20+ rebs night.  This guy has become a dominant force and it should genuinely scare people when his Bash Bro. Big Dan Stone returns from hiatus.  Captain Justin “and-1” Apuli had a huge 4-pt play late in the second half that all but sealed the dub for his team.  They have a big one with Team Harmelech next week.. Fireworks flew when these two squads met last time.. Should be a fun one to watch.

7. Team Zimmerman (Teplitz & Bell) – 5-6, tied for 3rd in Eastern Conference 

Team Zimmerman ended 2013 in their best Power Rankings spot to date.. They ended the year on a tear and it seemed as if 2014 was going to be huge for them.  The break has seemingly halted their run a bit as they dropped their game on Sunday Night to Team Goldin. I still expect big things from these guys over the season’s second half and I really think they will get up and over the .500 mark sooner than later.  Next week they face familiar foes — Team Bauer.

8. Team Schwartz (Stems) – 5-6, tied for 5-6 for 3rd in Eastern Conference

There are times during their games when Team Schwartz looks like they genuinely are unbeatable… They have great size, they have guys that are willing to sacrifice their bodies for loose balls and they have several guys who can stroke from 3.. If your building a Hoops Squad — you want (need really) those 3 dimensions.  However, there are other times during the same game where they seem to lose touch with their strengths.   There is still PLENTY of time for them figure out how to eliminate those bad stretches.. They are just under .500 and have had some really nice wins so far this Season.  I really really think they are good for at least one upset come March and April.. So, it’s up to them to see where they can windup before the Playoffs and just how late into their Playoff run the upset will come.

Rest of the Pack – Alphabetical Order

Team Bauer (Jam ‘n Honey) – 3-8, tied for 5th in Western Conference

When you find yourselves in a rough stretch the first W to break the streak is always the hardest.  These guys are going to rattle off a few in a row once they break the L-streak and get the weight off their shoulders.  Jabarri “League’s Leading Scorer” Reynolds went for 29 again on Sunday Night.  Guy is electric.  These guys fight too hard every week for them to not get back into the Winner’s circle soon.

Team Eilian (Crystal Lake Jeep) – 2-9, tied for 5th in Eastern Conference

This squad is much more talented than their record would suggest.  They fell victim to having no-subs on Sunday Night and as stated above.. It’s just so hard to win with just 5 guys.  They’re going to surprise a couple teams in the 2nd Half of the Season.. Teams that aren’t paying attention to their record are going to be shocked by the talent when they get on the court with them.  No reason to get down.. Tons of Hoops left.

Team Holzman (Groupon) – 3-8, tied for 5th in Western Conference

Jeremy “efficient” Mizraji led them in scoring with 23 points on just 13 shots.  Really impressive.  They have the pieces in place to go on a tear in the second half of the Season.  Sure, their record isn’t where they want it to be.. But realistically they are just two games back of getting out of the Bottom four and have tons of games left to make that happen.

Team Shamberg (Sunset Foods) – 2-9, tied for 5th in Eastern Conference 

The hottest team that went Unranked this week is Team Shamberg who start off 2014 with a W..  Dating back to 2013, that’s 2 out of 3 for these guys and they seem to be finally getting into a rhythm. Todd “deserves a shout-out” Siegel went for 18 to lead the squad on Sunday Night.  Come Playoff time, many records will not truly be indicative of how Teams are playing at that given moment. Team Shamberg is going to be better than their record suggests. No doubt. Congrats on turning things around guys.