2014-15 Hoops – Week 8 (Dec. 7)

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Updated: December 9, 2014

It was a Week of Returns.. Team Lalez welcomed back Big Ben Lazarov and Team Bernkopf got back their PG in Zachary Bulwa.  Sunday also marked the Return to the Winner’s circle for Team Schwartz who are now ready to let the flood gates really open up. We also saw Team Goldin and Team Kozin return to form in Week 8.. Please note, there is one more week (Sunday Dec. 14) of Games before we go on Winter Break for the Holidays.. There are no Games on Dec. 21 or 28.   January 4, 2015 will be our first week back and we’ll officially be over the half way point of the Regular Season.  Before we get to the Power Rankings, here’s a Link to the Weekly Highlight Videos!  OK Let’s Rank ’em!

Power Rankings

1. Team Lalez (Crystal Lake CDJ) – 8-0, 1st in South Division

Scary for everyone that the Undefeated Defending Champions who started the year 7-0 actually got better going into Week 8.. But that’s exactly what happened.  As mentioned in the Open, Ben Lazarov, a core piece from the Team Dorfman/Hakimian/Lalez/Lazarov Franchise has recovered from an off-season injury and is ready to be unleashed on the Championship Defense.. Team Lalez won in his 2014-15 debut this past Sunday Night against Team Apuli.  Now 8-0.. Getting scarier and scarier..

1.9 Team Maione (Biaggi’s Blue) – 8-0, 1st in West Division

They just win.  What else is there to say?  They move to 8-0 on the year after a tough battle with Championship Contenders – Team Zimmerman on Sunday Night.  This W happened to come without Chris Wroblewski and it was a fantastic opportunity to once again remind everyone of their serious depth.  In his absence Josh Bartelstein really stepped up on the Offensive end with several step back Js and Bradley Deutsch had 33 points on the night. It seems far off and it wouldn’t be wise for either Team to look this far ahead.. But it’s difficult to not be excited (and even hopeful) for a potential Championship Rematch of Undefeated Teams — Team Maione and Team Lalez will take the court against one another on Sunday January 11.  While that’s a month off in the Calendar it is only 2 Games away because of the Winter Break — and it seems like a real possibility.  Not only will a tremendous amount of pride be on the line but also an inside track to the #1 overall seed come March..

3. Team Harris (Chicago Trolley & Double Decker Co.) – 7-1, 1st in North Division

It’s well known and seemingly universally accepted that this Chicago Hoops League is as talented and deep as any around.. So for any Team open up 7-1, with their only blemish coming in a tight one against the Undefeated Champs… Well, that’s some impressive stuff.  Team Harris has the confidence that they are going to Win each time out and that’s a big deal in this League.  They’ve endured some bumps and bruises, and, thus some Rotation tweaks but at the end of the day they just win.  This week they defeated the always tough Team Bernkopf behind and impressive 27 points and 11 boards from Dylan Richter.. Next week, they’ll be part of co-Accerlated Games of the Week when they take on Team Kozin in what will be a clash of styles..  Many might not think so but both Teams play a similar style.. They both use their athleticism to get out and get quick buckets and in the half court they prefer to wear down teams in the post while kicking out to deadly 3pt shooters.. It’s going to be a really fun one to watch and another potential statement W for Team Harris before the close of 2014.

4. Team Horwitz (Esser Hayes Insurance Co.) – 6-2, 2nd in West Division

Been saying for weeks that these guys can really fill it up.. Well, fill it up they did on Sunday Night.  They scored 109 in another big W for this crew.  They are gaining confidence and momentum with each passing week and as the calendar flips from 2014 to 2015 they have become one of the premier Teams in the League.  Alan Tucci has been making a name for himself the past month or so as he continues to rise up the PPG ranks.. After his FORTY point performance on Sunday Night he now finds himself at #1 in the PPG in the League.  Impressive stuff..  It’s hard to say that there’s a Game with true Playoff implications this early in the Season but next week they will take place in the co-Accelerated Games of the Week when they line-up against Team Zimmerman.. Both squads have been very impressive but find themselves in 2nd in the Division — staring up at the Undefeated Championship combatants from a year ago..  This Game will likely play a key role in seeding come March..  Can’t Wait for Sunday.

5. Team Goldin (Cy Fredrics Jewelers) – 5-3, tied for 1st in East Division

Nights like last Sunday make it clear why Team Goldin has everything they need to win the Crown come next April.  They have scoring both in the paint and on the perimeter. Each Player on the Team takes pride in stopping the person they are guarding from scoring. Most importantly, they just want it.  They want to win it and it shows.  Garrett Staniec one of the premier forces down low in the League went for 30 points and 16 boards in this one.. Alex Filin had 29 as well.  As for the #AssistWatch – Captain DG took it this week with 7, trailed by Brandon Lathon and Alex Filin who both had 4.  They have Team Hernandez to close 2014.. They are a Team that is better than their record and it’s great opportunity for both Teams to end 2014 on a high note.

6. Team Kozin (Theory) – 5-3, tied for 1st in East Division

This is the Team Kozin squad everyone has come to know.. They got back to the Winner’s Circle on Sunday Night after putting up 100 on Team Elrod.  Tim Flowers double doubled with 25 points and 12 boards. Josh Davis added 17 and 9. Rashad Singleton also provided explosiveness off the wing and it was good to see Oren Amzaleg start to launch from 3 — he had 15 on the night.  It’s simple really.. When they have the whole squad they get Ws.   They close 2014 in one of the co-Accelerated Games of the Week when they take on #3 Team Harris on Sunday Night in what has all the makings to be an absolute slugfest.  Sunday is going to be great.

7. Team Zimmerman (Biaggi’s Orange) – 5-3, 2nd in South Division

Team Zimmerman has 3 Losses on the year… by a combined 13 points..  They’ve lost to Team Lalez, Team Harris (OT) and Team Maione — with the latter two coming in the past two weeks..  If you look close, you’ll notice those are the top 3 Teams in the Power Rankings right now..  So a couple possessions is all that separates them from the top of the Power Rankings list.. This is going to just fuel their fire as the Regular Season rolls on.  It’s obvious they are among the League’s elite.. They will have these tough Losses to draw from when it the Playoffs roll around and know what they need to do differently.  One thing they don’t need to change is having the ball in Esto Vega’s hands.. They guy had FORTY on Sunday Night and did everything humanly possible to will Team Zimmerman to the W.  It didn’t happen this time around, but if they get that from him every week.. They could be the last Team left standing.  They close 2014 with #4 Team Horwitz in a co-Accelerated Games of the Week spot — an opportunity to right the ship against the top of the Power Rankings and close 2014 with a true exclamation point.

8. Team Apuli (iShot Mounts) – 4-4, 3rd in West Division

After jumping to #6 last week — their highest Ranking of the Season — they hit a roadblock named Team Lalez this week.  No shame in dropping one to the Undefeated Defending Champs..  They still have all the positives that were touched on the past couple of weeks during their Winning Streak — sometimes you just meet up with a Team that is playing at an unreal level.  Team Apuli has made their case that they are closer to the top tier than many realize.. 2015 should be a good one for this group.

9. Team Hernandez (Kelly Parker Home Collective) – 3-5, 2nd in North Division

It has been a season of runs for this Free Agent squad.. They started off the year 0-2, before climbing back to 2-2 after Week 4.  Since then they had hit a rough patch and after Week 7 resided at 2-5.  This past week, they hope to have started another run and this one being a positive.. They looked great on Sunday Night and as they still mix/match pieces and rotations they may have finally found the right recipe.. Dave Altman had 26 points in what is becoming a weekly expectation.  They close 2014 with a tough matchup with Team Goldin.. A tough matchup they are capable of taking however.. It’ll be a great way to head into the New Year if they can knock off the top #5 squad.

10. Team Levitan (Dr. Jacob D.D.S. Maroon) – 3-5, 3rd in South Division

Got a little help from their friends this past week and they almost pulled it out vs. Team Schwartz.. They’ll be back and ready to go in 2015.

11. Team Schwartz (Greater Than) – 1-7, 4th in West Division

The first one is often the most difficult.  Now that it’s behind them, it’s safe to expect many more from the G>T squad.  Jason Vismantas had 20 and Jon Sider had 17 — which the Team needed every last one of in their 1pt victory..  The schedule is doing them no favors as they will square off with Team Lalez to close 2014.   Looking ahead however, there will be plenty of opportunities for Team Schwartz to climb back up the Standings.. They may be out of the Division race at this point, but they have more than enough time to get hot and come into the Playoffs with some momentum.  This Team is better than their record, been saying it for a long time now, and eventually their weekly results will back that up. Congrats guys!

12. Team Shaffer (Muchacha Salsa Black) – 2-6, 4th in South Division

They ran into a buzz saw on Sunday Night. Team Horwitz was just firing on all cylinders.. It happens.. The season is too long to dwell on any Loss and these guys know that.. They have one Game left in 2014 and they have drawn the Undefeated Team Maione to close out the Calendar year.. It’s a steep test obviously but if they play their absolute best than they can knock off the unbeatens.. It’s doable.  Good Luck!

Rest of the Pack (Alphabetical Order)

Team Bernkopf (Stems) – 2-6, tied for 3rd in East Division

Didn’t come out on top with Team Harris on Sunday Night but while they have lost the short-term battle on Sunday Night, their Season’s life got new legs.. Literally.  Their PG Zach Bulwa is back from an off-season injury and you could tell their Offense has already is improving just in 44 minutes together.. They may come into the Playoffs with a weaker record than some but don’t be fooled.. With a full and healthy lineup they are among the League’s best.. Scoring was difficult for them in the League’s opening months but that should be remedied soon.. They close the year with Team Elrod on Sunday Night.  A Game that both Teams want desperately.

Team Elrod (Dr. Jacob D.D.S. Navy) – 1-7, 4th in North Division

Positives — Zach Nudelman shot the ball well with 20 and they learned they have another scorer in Nate Earnest who went for 19 on just 11 shots.  They are still learning who can do what and when within the 44 minutes.. It takes time.  The beauty of the Hoops League is they have MONTHS more to figure everything out and still have time for a Playoff Run.  The record may not be pretty to start 2015, but it’s of course not how you start.. but how you finish.

Team Holzman (Benjamin & Shapiro Law) – 2-6, tied for 3rd in East Division

Team Hernandez looked the best they had all season long and unfortunately for Team Holzman they were just short-handed at the wrong time.  They have a bunch of talent.. Their past records would show that.. They just haven’t had the opportunity to play with their full crew too many times and their play is suffering as a result.   To finish 2014 they’ll face…

Team Shamberg (Muchacha Salsa Silver) – 2-6, 3rd in North Division

… Team Shamberg.. Continuing from above, Team Shamberg and Team Holzman will go to battle Sunday Night for the right to feel good heading into Winter Break and also to climb out of the Bottom 4 in the Standings.  For Team Shamberg, the story stays the same.. They are just hurting for bodies right now and it shows. The Kaufmans are firing away though and it’s something they can rally behind as the calendar flips to 2015..  There is plenty of time here for them to stock pile wins and next Sunday is good of an opportunity to start as any.

 

That’s it for us, have a great week and see you Next Sunday Night!

– Holden