2014-15 Hoops – Week 5 (Nov. 16)

Updated: November 19, 2014

Sunday Night was full of fantastic finishes and as a result we got to see how some Teams handle end of Game situations.. That’s key facet of surviving and advancing in the Playoffs.. Just something to keep an eye on. Before we get to the Power Rankings, here’s a Link to this Week’s (and Hoops League exclusive) Highlight Video! OK Let’s Rank ‘Em!

Power Rankings

1. Team Lalez (Crystal Lake CDJ) – 5-0, 1st in South Division

They are the Defending Champs and they are one of only 2 undefeated Teams left standing.. Tired of seeing them atop the Power Rankings?  Well, there’s only one way to do that and Team Lalez seems pretty determined to prevent that.. We’re talking about defeating them by the way.. They were without some of their big guns on Sunday Night but still had enough in the tank to win against Team Elrod.  That’s what Championship Teams do.. They win, no matter the circumstance..  Dave Gershenzon led the way with 19 points. What’s really scary about these Guys… They haven’t even played their absolute best yet and they are still unbeaten..  It’s reminiscent of what Florida State is going through in College Football right now.. Team Lalez has yet to put their best 44 minutes together on one night but they draw on past success and experience to will themselves to victory each and every week.  Each week they are also getting the other Team’s best and frankly it’s just amazing what they are able to do on Sunday Nights.  Next up is Team Hernandez…

2. Team Maione (Biaggi’s Blue) – 5-0, 1st in West Division

Stride for stride with Team Lalez is last year’s Runners-Up Team Maione.  They have been lights out to being the 2014-15 campaign and when they are playing like this, it’s hard to imagine anyone beating them.. Team Lalez included.  Tellef Lundevall really has provided that inside presence that they missed last year and they are just rolling along right now.  Next week, we’ll surely be test of their inside game..

When the Schedule comes out, many people will go through and highlight a couple Games that they really look forward to.. As commissioner, that’s no different.. Next Sunday is one of those Games.. Team Maione will go toe to toe with #3 Team Kozin.  Their styles are sheer opposites really.. Team Maione is as deadly from the perimeter as any Team out there. Team Kozin on the other hand likes to work from the inside, out..  This one will surely be a Playoff Preview and will lend a lot of insight to all of the Teams in the League..

3. Team Kozin (Theory) – 4-1, 1st in East Division

As mentioned before, Team Kozin will take on Team Maione next Sunday Nightin the Accelerated Physical Therapy Game of the Week..  Can Team Kozin get another true statement victory?  We’ll know at this point next week..  There are only a handful of opportunities in the Regular Season to put the whole League on blast.. It’s the same for every Team — when the top Teams come knocking, it’s your chance to make everyone say “Oh, oh wow.”  Sunday, Team Kozin, can not only cement their status as one of those big Teams that everyone gets up to play, but they can take down another in the process.  As for this week, they get another W when they defeated Team Apuli.  This one was a physical contest that really could have gone either way.  Tim Flowers was the second Leading Scorer for the League on Sunday Night with 29 crucial points. The lead was back and forth but when all was said and done Team Kozin got enough big plays to get the W.

4. Team Zimmerman (Biaggi’s Orange) – 4-1, 2nd in South Division

Team Zimmerman could be the best Offensive Team in the League.. When they are really humming it’s nearly impossible to get stops against them.  They have several capable bigs, they have tons of perimeter shooting, they have drivers and slashers, and they finish in traffic as well.  You have to cherish your possessions against them because they are going to capitalize on many of theirs.   They are second in the League right now in Points Per Game — averaging over 80 per contest — and less than a half point behind League Leading Team Maione.. This past week Riaz Hoveydai was their leading scorer with 22, remember that name.. He can really play. If they can figure out how to become as potent on the defensive end they might be the one’s holding the Crown in April.

5. Team Harris (Chicago Trolley & Double Decker Co.) – 4-1, 1st in North Division

An important part of All Sports Series and definitely in the ultra-competitive Hoops League is having the ability to bounce back.  These Guys lost their first game of the season last week, a heartbreaker to Defending Champs Team Lalez, and of course it stung.  Great Teams, however, do not dwell on losses.. They just get back to doing what they do.. That’s exactly what they did on Sunday Night against Team Levitan.  Team Harris was once again a bit under-manned but they ended up on top in this back and forth affair that could have gone either way.  These guys are for real.  Tony Rizzo had a big night with 23 points and 7 boards. They are also pulling away in the North Division which means that they are looking at a top spot come March.. Still early and still a ton left to play.. But just something to keep in mind.. These guys will be heard from late into the season.

6. Team Goldin (Cy Fredrics) – 3-2, 2nd in East Division

This crew has been a part of some big time Ws in the past.. They finished last year in 3rd place and obviously had to take down some strong competitors to get that far.. They do a great job of not getting too high after a win nor too low after a loss.  They show a ton of emotion on the court but when it comes to truly taking it one game at a time, they are as stone cold as it gets.  That being said, no one would blame them if they threw themselves a little bit of a shindig Sunday Night upon leaving the gym..  There was actually a Tweet sent fro the @AllSportsSeries Twitter account on Sunday about how Team Horwitz had played the best half of any Team this Season — this past Sunday.  Team Horwitz played against Team Goldin in a really entertaining affair.. More on Team Horwitz later.. But to Team Goldin’s credit, they took the first half punches from Team Horwitz and just kept fighting.. There’s a play that really defines this group but was too long to put in the Highlight Video.. Center Garrett Staniec got about 7 offensive rebounds in one possession, with the help some tips from teammates and eventually he was able to put the ball in the basket. They never quit.  Midway through the second half they overcame a huge deficit and finally took the lead.. Instead of being happy with just catching up, they continued on their run and put the Game out of reach.  So to correct the Tweet from Sunday — Team Goldin played the best half of any Team on Sunday Night in the second half against Team Horwitz. Really impressive stuff. As for the #AssistWatch — Alex Filin led the way this week with 6 dimes.

7. Team Horwitz (Esser Hayes Insurance Co.) – 3-2, 2nd in West Division

As mentioned above in Team Goldin’s section — they played an amazing first half.  They were firing on all cylinders — most notably Alan Tucci who went for THIRTY ONE in the FIRST HALF.  It was amazing.  However, with only 6 guys they just ran out of steam in the second half and allowed what would have been their biggest W to date slip through their fingers.  In the end, the one loss is not going to make or break them.. In fact, it can really be used to make them stronger as a unit going forward.. They now know that winning with 5 or 6 guys is just nearly impossible in the Hoops League. The games are too long and there’s just too much talent everywhere.  They needed their whole group week in and week out. Now they know.. Many wins still ahead for these guys.

8. Team Bernkopf (Stems) – 2-3, 3rd in East Division

Back in the Winner’s Circle this week is Team Bernkopf.  They hit a rough patch after Week 1 but regained their true form on Sunday Night when they battled Team Schwartz.  Alex Simmons led the way with his 16 points and 8 boards.  These guys have had a tough schedule to start the season – as has been mentioned a few times – and it’s not going to get any easier with Team Horwitz on tap for next week.. That being said, the schedule will eventually die down and they will head into the easier part of their slate with confidence having made it through a rough October and November.  These guys are as scrappy as it gets and every Team in the League knows they are in for a hand full when taking them on.  They aren’t as big up front as some of the other Teams in the League but they fight like crazy in the paint and make up for the height on sheer determination.  They are one of the Teams outside of the Top 7 that have a real shot of breaking into it in the next few weeks.

9. Team Hernandez (Kelly Parker Home Collective) – 2-3, tied for 2nd in North Division

Team Hernandez was stride for stride with Team Zimmerman for much of the first half but the Game’s fast pace ended up doing them in.. Team Zimmerman is one of the best offensive Teams in the League and trying to go toe to toe with them in a shoot-out is just a tough task.  They have several bright spots which is why they are coming in at #9 this week.  They continue to grow as a Team and will keep doing so week after week. This Team has a lot of potential and as the Calendar turns to 2015 they may be one of the League’s best.

10. Team Shamberg (Muchacha Salsa Silver) – 2-3, tied for 2nd in North Division

Last year it took Team Shamberg until around New Year’s to grab hold of their second win.. That’s not to knock their squad last year.. It’s just to show they have certainly grown as a unit and continue to do so each and every week. In fact, this win on Sunday was probably a bit sweeter as some of their former running mates now lace it up for Team Shaffer.  They are really gelling and it’s obvious to everyone who sees them play week in and week out.   Rookie Michael Kaufman led the scoring with 22 and 8 boards while Jake Preskill poured in 14 as well.  They play Team Levitan next week and will have an opportunity to get back to .500.  In such a long season you need to set up attainable short-term goals.. Getting back to .500 has to be one of them for Team Shamberg who got off to such a slow start a year ago.. They have what it takes to do it.

11. Team Apuli (iShot Mounts) – 2-3, 3rd in West Division

They were oh so close to knocking of Team Kozin and getting over the .500 mark.. Resident big Kyle Daniels had 21 and 13 boards.  They played well but just couldn’t keep Team Kozin away from the rim enough to secure the W.  Here’s what’s encouraging though — they didn’t play their best Game, again they played well, but not their best..  They hung with the #3 Team in the Power Rankings and really could have won, while still having room for improvement.  These guys are going to get better as the Season moves on and it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see them in the top half of the Power Rankings before too long.

12. Team Levitan (Dr. Jacob D.D.S. Maroon) – 1-4, tied for 3rd in South Division

1-4 does not usually scream “encouraging’ — but in this case, that’s exactly what it means.. These guys have dropped one-possession games to 2 of the League’s Top 5 in the first few weeks of the year. They are a Rookie squad still getting their feet wet with All Sports Series and frankly they’ve exceeded many expectations.  The record will end up balancing out as the year goes on.. This Team will end at least at .500 or better. Book it.  This past week, Benjamin Hanessian had a double double with 20 points and 11 rebounds.  They have lot of talent on this roster and soon they’ll be comfortable enough with one another to get the job done.

Rest of the Pack (Alphabetical Order)

Team Elrod (Dr. Jacob D.D.S. Navy) – 1-4, 4th in North Division

Added a much needed big this Week in Phil Weisberg who is a true All Sports Series vet.. He had a double double with 15 and 10 boards in his debut in the Hoops League.. The issue was that they ran into the undefeated Defending Champs on Sunday Night.. Even though it may not appear to be so from a scoreboard perspective — they looked as complete as they have looked all season.  The inside option really opens things up for their strong guard play and also helped with the defensive glass.  They are going to get better just like all of the Teams who are playing their first games with one another.. Catch them now, because as the calendar starts to turn to 2015 this is going to look like a new group all together.

Team Holzman (Benjamin & Shapiro Law) – 1-4, 4th in East Division

They just couldn’t match Team Maione’s firepower this past Sunday..  Not the first time this Season that Team Maione just shot their opponents out of the building.. David Holmes continues to impress on a weekly basis as he went for 21-6-6 on Sunday Night.  Also, the brothers Cowin really provide an interesting 1-2 punch in the paint on the defensive end for this crew.  They too went under some roster re-hauling in the off-season and it’s taking some time for them to learn each others games. No reason to hit the panic button. They’ll bounce back.

Team Schwartz (Greater Than) – 0-5, 4th in West Division

Forget the record. Forget the numbers.  This Team is a group of fighters. They aren’t going to just lay down because they’ve had a rough start in the win/loss columns. Truthfully they’ve looked better during many of their Games than several Teams who currently hold better records.  Are they going to win their Division?  Maybe not.  But this thing is so, so long — they have plenty of time to stock pile some wins.  We aren’t even 1/3 done with the Regular Season.  They will take it one game at a time. They are vets.  Next up is Team Goldin — no easy task — but you can be assured they’ll come ready to play next Sunday Night.

Team Shaffer (Muchacha Salsa Black) – 1-4, tied for 3rd in South Division

Came up a bit short in somewhat of a “Rivalry” Game with Team Shamberg… Some of the current Team Shaffer crew played for Team Shamberg a year ago.. So these two groups are extremely familiar with one another.. They’ll have to cross their fingers for a Playoff match-up in order to get their Rematch.  Captain Ian led the way on the scoring front with 19.  Team Harris is on deck for them, which will be no easy task, but if they play their best (and smart) they can Win on Sunday Night.  They just need to believe it.

That’s it for us this week. Have a great week. Stay warm.  See you Sunday Night!

– Holden