2013-14 Hoops – Week 12 (Jan. 19)

Updated: January 20, 2014

As we wind down Non-Conference action next week, the narrative keeps evolving. Last week, it was the Western Conference who got the upper hand and just one week later the Eastern Conference answered right back.   Next week will present a whole different type of challenge as we have Double Header Sunday, as a result of the Snow-Out from a few weeks back.  It’ll be good practice for the Playoffs however, when teams might have to battle through more than 1 game a night.   Next week, as stated above each Team will play their last Non-Conference game next week and in addition, each team will kick-off their final Conference schedule.  After Double Header Sunday, we will be off for the Super Bowl and then it will be a sprint, with just 4 Regular Season weeks remaining until Playoff Time.  Hold on to your hats folks.  Here’s the link for the Weekly Video Highlights.  Let’s Rank ’em.

Power Rankings

1. Team Lalez (Highland Pop) – 11-1, 1st in Eastern Conference

[scanning brain for nice things to say about these guys that won’t seem too repetitive……..]  Well, I’m at a loss.. These guys have managed to go 11-1 in the deepest Hoops League around.  It’s insanely impressive and there’s really no sense that they will slow down.  The usual suspects — Eytan “good luck altering his shot” Azaria went for 18 and David “D.D.S.” added 16 to the winning total.  Next week, a new type of challenge will present itself.. We’ll see how their endurance is when they go head to head with Team Zimmerman and then Team Holzman who will be competing in their first game of the night.

2. Team Harmelech (iShot) – 9-3, 2nd in Eastern Conference

Another W added to the list for Team Harmelech as they are truly on a roll winning their last 5 in a row.  Away from the All Sports Hoops court they suffered what hopefully is not too big of a loss — Starting PG Zach “get better soon” Bulwa injured his knee during a charity game and hopefully he can get back to the squad come Playoff time.  Without him, the road will certainly be tougher for these guys, but they are fighters in every sense of the word. They will keep pushing either way.  Ricky “snubbed him on his Triple Double shout-out last week, sorry!” Silverman followed up last week’s strong showing with a 23 point and 11 board night.  He and his teammates are really finishing around the rim as of late and that has really been the difference in the last 5 games.  They can get open 3s whenever, but these guys are at their best when they are slashing to the rim.  There are a few nice sequences of this in the Highlight Video this week.  Next week, they have a double dip of HP, when they will go toe to toe with Rivals Team Maione and then just an hour later matchup with Team Schwartz.  It could be a statement night for these guys if they bring the A game.

3. Team Maione (B. Weinstein Associates) – 9-3, 1st in Western Conference

Back in the Top 3 where they probably should have never left… They bounced back from last week with a W which is of course an important thing, but you just get the feeling these guys are biding their time until the Playoffs when they are just going to unleash the full arsenal.  Even at times when their became tight on Sunday they had a sense of “let’s not show too much here.” They are confident and for great reason. Nick “tricoooooola”  Wieczorek had a big night with 24 points and Josh “Bart” Bartelstein went for 23 and 10 boards to boot.  No matter what their Regular Season record finishes at, they will be heard from at the end in April.  Couldn’t hurt to go on a tear and rattle off their last 6 though. They have quite the night ahead of them next week as they will start with Rivals Team Harmelech and cap the night off with another Top 4 team – Team Goldin.  Team Maione has the toughest Double Header in the League next week.. Let’s see if they’re in Playoff mode or not.

4. Team Goldin (Sanders Court Pediatrics) – 7-5, 3rd in Western Conference

Team Goldin keeps movin’ on up.. They got another W this past Sunday and without many of their key players.  It was said last week and can be reiterated again, if or when they get the full squad into the gym, and supposedly that is going to happen soon.. Well, look out everyone else.  They have size, speed and shooting from all 5 spots on the court.  They lost a few early that came down to a play or two and I always think that those losses end up helping great teams. They use those come Playoff time to get better.   Garrett “down on the block” Staniec led all scorers in the League on Sunday Night with 31 and he doubled up with 15 boards.  Brandon “@DaivonAgusta_CC” Lathon had a double double of his own with 14 points and 11 rebounds.  These guys are going to need their Greater Than next week as they will have two battles — Team Schwartz first and then a chance to really rise up the ranks even more with Team Maione to finish the night.

5. Team Kozin (SLA Insurance) – 8-4, 2nd in Western Conference

This is the farthest fall for Team Kozin of the Season in terms of the Rankings.  Realistically though, that’s pretty insignificant. They played #1 Team Lalez to a game that was closer than the score would indicate and all in all they looked good.  Just teams ahead of them got Ws and they didn’t.  They are still in the driver’s seat for a top seed as long as they take care of business in the season’s final 6 games and there’s no reason to think otherwise. Like to see them involve Matt “cleans the glass” Wolk more on the Offensive side as he routinely shoots a high percentage from the field and does much of the dirty work down low. He’s got tons of low post moves and can really help open things up more outside for them.   Josh “his range is crazy” Davis went for 25 points on this night.  His average is now at 22 a game for the Season which is tied for 3rd highest in the League. Awesome stuff there.  They have games with Team Apuli and then Team Shamberg next Sunday..

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

Back to .500 is Team Zimmerman. They have scratched and clawed all Season to get back here and next week they have a chance to get over that .500 hump once and for all.  They really started the Season with a tough Schedule but their fight back has been really impressive. Eugene “amazing handles” Connor went for 28 on Sunday Night and is now the 2nd Leading Scorer in the League.  The Twin Towers also had a big night as Breton “twin 1” Darcy went for 21 and Max “twin 2” Boton went for 19.. Both of them had 14 rebounds as well.  Have to wait til the Seeding of the Playoffs come out to name a true “sleeper” but if things hold somewhat steady these guys would be my sleeper pick to do some real damage in the Playoffs. So solid all around. To get over the .500 hump they will have their work cut out for them on Sunday as their first game will be with #1 Team Lalez and then right after they get Team Apuli.

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

Team Schwartz has been on an up and down ride all season long.  However, they never have let themselves get too high nor too low.  They’ve been within a game or two of .500 all year and that really makes sense.  They play hard D every time they walk into the Gym, so the difference in many of their Wins and Losses is simply how many 3s rattle in or spit out.   They make teams work on every possession likely more than any team in the League.  So the question is, can they figure out a way to avoid those Offensive droughts that gave plagued them in their Ls.  Austin “can get his shot off against anyone” Brown went for 22 points which included a couple tough, tough step backs.  When he’s hitting like that there’s not much you can do to slow him down. Max “up and under for the bucket and the foul” Kaplan scored an AND-1 with just about 15 seconds remaining in this one which gave Team Schwartz the lead for good.  Team Schwartz has one of the hardest double dips in the League next week as they will have #2 Team Harmelech right before playing #4 Team Goldin.  Challenges bring Statement opportunities however, so it’ll be interesting to see where Team Schwartz comes in next week.

8. Team Apuli (Wrigley View Rooftop) – 6-6, 4th in Western Conference

Team Apuli is in a spot where if they can do damage in their Double Header next week — they play Team Kozin and Team Zimmerman — they will be setting themselves up to really benefit in the Playoffs.  In the middle of the pack they aren’t so much in danger of dropping out of the top 8 seeds (remember the Playoffs are a Triple Elimination Tourney where the other 4 teams start the Playoffs with a Loss already tallied to them); they can manage to miss some of the top teams in the first round though if they can figure it out in the final 6. That starts next week.  Two teams that are right there with them in the Standings. That’s big time now.   They’ll need their whole host of players to make that happen and hopefully for them they can manage to pull that off.

Rest of the Pack

Team Bauer (Jam ‘n Honey) – 3-9, tied for 5th in Western Conference

Just need 1 to break the streak. Evan “needs to keep asserting himself”  Zahniser had 29 points on just 18 shots and managed 9 rebounds as well. If the can keep up that pace when the League’s Leading Scorer Jabarri Reynolds gets back in the line-up they’ll turn this around in a hurry.

Team Eilian (Crystal Lake Jeep) – 2-10, tied for 5th in Eastern Conference

Last week’s Power Rankings had this to say about Team Eilian, “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.”  Well, they again had 5 guys and just fell short at the end.  Need depth, especially next week with two games.  They have two Unranked teams on tap next week — Team Bauer and Team Shamberg — which doesn’t mean anything really as there is talent on each and every team.. But if they are going to make a run at getting into the Top 8, that needs to start next week.

Team Holzman (Groupon) – 3-9, tied for 5th in Western Conference

Lost a heartbreaker to Team Schwartz by 2 points.  It was anyone’s game and Team Schwartz just happened to make the final bucket.  Jeremy “becoming a weekly deal here” Mizraji had 14 points and 13 boards. They will have a tired Team Lalez team in Game 1 and then Team Bauer in their second game next week.

Team Shamberg (Sunset Foods) – 2-10, tied for 5th in Eastern Conference

6 games left.  There is enough on this squad to go .500 in that stretch.. The confidence that would bring to them come Playoff time would huge.  That would mean they won 5 of their last 9 heading into the Playoffs. Who cares what their record will be once they get in there.. It’ll be about how everyone is playing then.  Now just go out there and make it happen.