2013-14 Hoops – Week 15 (Feb. 9)

Updated: February 10, 2014

Only 3 Weeks until the Playoffs begin!  The Playoffs will be a grueling, triple elimination format that span 6 weeks.   Some of you may have noticed that Monday Morning, the All Hoops Team Ballot went up on allsportsseries.com.  Click Here To VOTE. Please read the instructions (or at least skim them) so you understand how Championship Night will work regarding the All Hoops Team Festivities (yes, there is going to be a Game and a 3PT Contest).  Voting ends March 10th, the day after the Playoffs officially begin.  Here’s a link for the Weekly Highlight Video. Don’t forget to check out the new Power Rankings feature — an Interview with one of you! Scroll down to see who it’s with.  If you want to be next, hit up @AllSportsSeries on Twitter.  OK, sorry for the long winded intro this week, but there is a lot going at this point in the season! Let’s Rank ’em.

Power Rankings

1. Team Lalez (Highland Pop) – 14-1, 1st in Eastern Conference

Congrats to the Eastern Conference Regular Season Champs.  This means that they have locked up a Top 2 Seed after winning another one on Sunday Night.  They’ll clinch “Homecourt” throughout the Playoffs with just one more W or a L from Team Maione over the final 3 weeks.. Something tells me that Team Lalez won’t back into the Playoffs.. You are looking at the #1 Overall Seed for the Playoffs right here.  Oh sorry. Spoiler Alert! Sorry.  Eytan “BMOC” Azaria had 21 and a whopping 18 boards.  There is little intrigue left for these guys in terms of their seed, so their attention (along with the rest of the League) should turn to who will finish #8 and draw these guys in the Opening Round of the Playoffs.  If Teams in the middle of the pack feel aren’t feeling any urgency because they know they aren’t in the bottom-4, well, they should change that and do everything possible to avoid the 1-Loss force Team Lalez.

2. Team Maione (B. Weinstein Associates) – 11-4, 1st in Western Conference

Big BIg BIG win for Team Maione on Sunday Night.  They avenged their first Loss of the Season to Conference Rival Team Kozin from way back in October; and in comeback fashion to boot.  While the #1 Seed is likely out of reach they now have a 1-Game Lead in the Conference and hold the #2 Seed in their own control if they can win out over the final 3 weeks.  Josh “@Jbart20” Bartelstein had a couple clutch 3s down the stretch to help Team Maione get the 3pt win.  Also, Chris “copy/paste” Wroblewski had another double-double for his squad with 16 and 10.  As the fight for the top spots continue, allow me to give everyone a reminder about how the Opening Round will go.. The Top 8 Seeds will be play each other in the “No Loss” Bracket, with the traditional 1/8, 4/5, 3/6, 2/7 games (winners will advance and losers will drop down to the “One Loss” Bracket, trying to work their way back up). While, the Bottom 4 squads will play 9/12 and 10/11 games in the “One Loss” Bracket.  Remember, it’s a Triple Elimination Tourney and the Bottom 4 start with One L to begin the Playoffs.

3. Team Goldin (Sanders Court Pediatrics) – 10-5, tied for 2nd in Western Conference

The streak is to 5.  Simply put these guys are peaking right now, just in time to make a serious climb up the Standings before Playoff Time.  They are totally different team than the group that fell to 5-5 all the way back before Winter Break.  They are getting the shots they want and the Tough D has always been there.  Every guy on the Team can get a bucket when the crew needs one and they are really settling into their roles.  Alex Filin “the stat sheet up” went for 24 points, 6 dimes and 9 boards in a really impressive night.  Garrett “the man in the middle” Staniec had 17 pts of his own.  Their schedule is no joke down the stretch so if they can get that streak up to 7 or 8, these guys might be flying the “hot team no one wants to see in the Playoffs” flag.

4. Team Kozin (SLA Insurance) – 10-5, tied for 2nd in Western Conference

This will be a tough one to swallow for Team Kozin.  They had Team Maione on the ropes and just couldn’t quite hold on.  I think one thing is obvious though.. These guys are in the top tier, no doubt about it.  Down 3, they got the ball under their own basket with about 6 seconds to play and out of a timeout, had a real play, which delivered a fantastic look to tie it… It didn’t go down, but the fact that they were poised in this situation and executed shows a lot.  Really quickly too, they held Team Maione to just 59 points, which was basically 25 points under their average.  These guys grind on D. I think some people scoffed at their early season win streak, because it was so early and no one really knew what to make of any team just yet.. However, if you look at this group’s resume.. They have impressive wins and a few heartbreaking losses — which again I think serves Teams well come Playoff Time.  If Team Kozin is the final Team Standing come April, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit.  Their twin towers Josh Davis and Matt Wolk went stride for stride with each other on Sunday — each netting 17 points and 12 rebounds.

5. Team Harmelech (iShot) – 10-5, 2nd in Eastern Conference

Wins are Wins are Wins.  I think its safe to say that Team Harmelech wouldn’t say they played their best Game on Sunday Night (and neither did Team Zimmerman) but they came out with a key Conference W. While Team Lalez clinched the Conference crown already, these guys are still fighting to finish as the #3 Seed and possibly avoid an Opening Round game with all of the teams that are mentioned ahead of them in the Power Rankings right now..  Again, two of the Top 5 will have to finish with the 4 and 5 Seeds and have an Opening Round clash.  Team Harmelech got some horrible news in the past week or so as they have lost Zach “PG extraordinaire” Bulwa for the rest of the Season. However, they did make a key pickup about 6 weeks ago with Jeremy “gets to the rim at will” Feit who netted 21 points on Sunday Night.  Also, a welcome back to Ricky “pacman’s owner” Silverman who was in double digits in scoring as well.

6. Team Schwartz (Stems) – 8-7, 3rd in Eastern Conference

Team Schwartz Captain, Matt “3B” Schwartz is our 2nd Interview for the Power Rankings.. Enjoy.

All Sports: OK so big come from behind this week.. What happened in the 2nd Half to turn it around for you guys?

Matt Schwartz: Effort on both ends of the court. We stepped up our defense, created some turnovers and limited their shots. Our communication was pretty bad in the first half, it led to a bunch of open shots which they were knocking down. Offensively, Max (Kaplan) and Austin (Brown) were driving great, Vis (Jason Vismantas) put on a clinic in the post. But most importantly AB, Sider and Samsky (Anthony Bernardi, Jon Sider and Craig Samsky) crashing the boards led to second chance points which allowed us to get the lead.

AS: You guys have been rocking the 2-3 Zone in the past few weeks.. Is that the preferred D for you guys at this point or just getting things in order for the Playoffs?

MS: We’ve been tossing the idea around of playing zone for a few weeks and with back to back wins I think it’s probably here to stay. Defensively we can be so aggressive now, which creates bad shots and turnovers and has really allowed us to run the floor. We have a pretty athletic group and when we can go against a team in transition it opens everything up for us.

AS: You had your full cast of 7 guys this past week, including Vis, for the first time in what seems like forever.. What’s he add to the team that you really can’t make up for in his absence?

MS: He completely changes our half-court offense. He shoots well from everywhere, he passes well and gives us another element inside. For example, tonight he was double teamed in the post which allowed everyone else to cut to the basket for some easy layups. He’s a grizzled vet, he sees thing on the court not everyone sees and helps us make in game adjustments.

AS: Finally, other than being fantastically hydrated w/ GT all year long, what’s going to set your Team up for a great Playoff run?

MS: We give 100% effort at all times and we’re scrappy. We feel like we’re getting better every week and we like our chances a lot to make a deep run. Our MVP though is low calorie, delicious and healthy Greater Than. (Editor’s Note: Couldn’t agree more!)

7. Team Apuli (Wrigley View Rooftop) – 7-8, 4th in Western Conference

The Forest Gump of the Hoops League — “never know what you are going to get..”  These guys squeaked out a 1 point W over Team Bauer who have been threatening to leap them in the Standings for a Top 8 spot.  These guys came out scorching and then went through a lull where Team Bauer was able to catch up and even have a chance to take the W at the buzzer.  At the end of the day, the W goes in their column and Justin “Captain” Apuli has assured me that the whole squad will be in tact come Playoff Time..  These guys have not been 100% in some time and if they are full go come Playoff Time, they will knock off someone seeded higher than them at one point during the Playoffs.  Book it.

8. Team Zimmerman (Teplitz & Bell) – 7-8, 4th in Eastern Conference 

They probably wish they could have this one back.  The game with Team Harmelech was one that I personally was excited to watch on Sunday Night and it just worked out that neither Team allowed the other to ever really settle in.  The game was not lacking in the excitement department it was just a choppy one.   Team Zimmerman’s schedule over the final 3 weeks —if based on the Standings — should allow for them to go on a run and get going before the Playoffs begin.  They will face two unranked Teams in that Stretch and more importantly if they can get those Ws they should be able to hop out of the 8 seed and the likely date with Team Lalez in the Opening Round.

Rest of the Pack (Alphabetical Order) 

Team Bauer (Jam ‘n Honey) – 5-10, 5th in Western Conference

For those not in the Gym during the conclusion of the Team Bauer v. Team Apuli Game on Sunday you missed some real excitement.  Team Bauer MVP Jabarri “League Leading Scorer” Reynolds was fouled on a half-court heave at the buzzer while in the act of shooting.  All of you know that means you get 1 shot for 3 points.  Oh and, they were only trailing by 1.  He stepped up to the line with the entire gym watching in silence and the ball just rimmed out.  Jabarri being the type of guy that he is handled it graciously and said he needed to make that shot to get his team the W.  I’d just like to remind everyone out there.. He had THIRTY FIVE POINTS (or exactly half of his Team’s 70) to lead a valiant comeback for these guys.  I’ve said it a bunch of times already this season.. When these guys are 100% they can play with anyone.. They should be just fine come Playoff Time.

Team Eilian (Crystal Lake Chrysler Dodge Jeep) – 2-13, 6th in Eastern Conference

Playing Team Lalez is never a recipe for turning everything around.. However, they have 3 weeks to get everything in order before March.. I think they will.

Team Holzman (Groupon) – 3-12, 6th in Western Conference

Another Team who fell just short after giving it everything.. They were right there with Team Goldin for much of the night and if a few more shots just stayed down they might have pulled off the Shocker.  They are likely going to be in the Bottom 4, but even within the Bottom 4 there will be some jostling for position over the next few weeks as matchups will be key come Playoff Time.

Team Shamberg – 3-12, 6th in Eastern Conference

They led Team Schwartz for a good portion of their game on Sunday Night.  They are a MUCH stronger Team than they were in the first half of the Season and the Teams that they’ve played (some they’ve beat) will attest to that..  They know they can win some of these Games now and they aren’t done winning this Season.  Not by a long shot.

Thanks for reading guys. Have a great week. VOTE for the All Hoops Team and stay warm.

– Holden