2006_ Winter/Spring NL (NYC)
Father's Day & The Playoff Spot 6.21.06
|First and foremost - a shout out to all the Dads of the world! Believe it or not, there are a few Dads here in the DLNL still playin' - and excellin'. The DLNY Playoffs take a break this Sunday in honor of Father's Day and so players like Da Bien's Joe Meijia, Oh Holla's Yoshi Kagitomi, and Moe's Tavern's Eugene Kim can be at home getting breakfast in bed, pedicures, and another tie for the collection from Mom and kids. Wait, Y2K and EK are already out. Sorry, fellas, maybe next season. Can you believe these ballas still play the way they do though? It's obvious some men aren't spending enough time at home if their games are still so good. |
Thursday night was all about how wrong Mike Owh could be. He picked Derelicte to shock the world and Tri-State's bench to help the InvAsian make waste of Gen X.
Though the game was close for a half, the Ghee Unit took care of business, busted out a can of whoop ass, outscored Derelicte 31-13 in the 2nd, and coasted home to 50-29 victory in front of a raucous crowd full of Mo Ghumman fans. They said things that we can't print here. Who knew Mo G had such rabid supporters?
In the other game, at one point in the contest, Tri-State's bench consisted of captain Andre Liu sitting on the ground as Ghee's captain Arif Ansari (a fellow Princetonian and now YMCA 4-on-4 teammate) lay lazily next to him. It looked like a Sunday picnic. Ansari couldn't enter the game obviously, but TSIV wishes he could have. They had no bench to speak of - as has been the case for them all season long. So, as Brandon Chock sat on Gen X's pine for most of the 4th, Gen X advanced to face the Cruisers on Wednesday by working Tri 53-30. Ugh.
Tri put up 11 points in the 2nd half (do you think a bench helps, especially this late in the season???). At least Derelicte could celebrate knowing they didn't have the lowest 2nd half production of the evening.
Missing: Shots & D-Dub.
If the night before was about dynamic duos, this night was not only about Owh-fer-two, but also about what was missing.
Derelicte's Young Yu and Fred Lee were missing shots left and right. On Wednesday against Moe's, they were a combined 19/29 for 54 points. Thursday brought a 3/19 outing for 7 points (all by Yu). Obviously, Ghee's D had something to do with that. But an 87% drop off? Moe's only lost to Ghee by 3 points earlier this season. So something was wrong with the shooting mechanics too.
For Tri, the missing was a man. The Man. The NL's leading scorer. Dave Wong and his 22.5 points were off in Hong Kong, undoubtedly at some club with a bottle of Taiwan Beer in hand, kickin' it to some honey. Little did he care that 10,279 miles away, his team was dying without him.
Wouldn't matter anyway. Add his 22.5 to TSIV's 30, and Gen X still comes out on top 53-52.5.
Arif also got DL wristbands.
First, congratulations to Arif Ansari who got the movie trivia question correct last week. Check out the cool prizes he won! See below for the new trivia question.
Round 3: No More Pretenders
If you’re like me and you’ve been wild about the World Cup for last week and a half, then you know how the world’s greatest party has been living up to its billing. Well, maybe not for our U.S. team, which has been uncharacteristically timid on the pitch. But it may just be the mood of the country as we haven’t really had much to be arrogant about lately. As my buddy Matt said while we were watching the match against Italy last Saturday at Epstein’s, “It’s been a while since I’ve felt patriotic. It feels nice.”
And it feels just as good (maybe better for some) to see our birth, and/or ancestral, nations do well in the World Cup. For us Koreans, it’s been a blast seeing our gutsy team will out a late win and a stressful draw against Togo and France, respectively. It’ll be a big test for Korea against Switzerland on Friday. We’ll need a win to guarantee an entrance into the knock-out round of 16. Even if we tie, we’re gonna have a difficult time getting in as the tie-breaker statistics are not in our favor. The top two of each group make it out of the round and it’s not easy, especially in this group.
Korea is one proud nation.
As you can see, the World Cup first round is all about separating the cream from the chaff. There are no more pretenders as you get into the knockout rounds and the do-or-die nature of the matches creates some heady drama and some lifetime heroes.
It’s the same for the Dream League Playoffs. The first couple of rounds weeds out the weak and rewards the strong. By round 3, it becomes a titanic struggle for those strong teams against each other. Are there surprises? Sure, just ask A Ball. But there are no more pretenders.
My WonderMic test.
(5) Gen X at (1) Homecrest Cruisers
I got a call the other day from a Gen X player who shall remain nameless begging me to pick against them in this match up. Now, you may ask, why would anyone want me to pick against them? Could it be that I’m so bad at making picks these days that the opposite of whatever I pick will occur? That may be, my friends, but that’s not how I make my picks. Unbeknownst to you, but knownst to me (YAO DVD and wristbands for anyone who gets this movie line reference. Hint: It’s a paraphrasing of the title sequence. Email me at email@example.com, if you know what it is.), I go through a painstaking process consisting of statistical evaluation, actual game scouting, and my own personal Wonderlic-like test for each team. I call it the WonderMik. Don’t believe me? Take a look.
Gen X had a point differential (PD) of 4.1 for the season while the Cruisers had a PD of 12.6. If you look closer at those numbers you’ll see that if you discount Gen X’s wins against the Cruisers (when they were missing George Chan, CB Liu, and Tony Hu) and the 16 Minute Men, Gen X never won a game by more than 9 points. However, all four of their losses came by more than 9 points. Take away a 7-point win against Ghee unit and the Cruisers never won by less than 10 points. That tells us that Gen X is a team that doesn’t run away from teams in their wins, but can allow teams to distance themselves in losses. It also tells us that the Cruisers are dominant.
PO's been on this lap.
The Cruisers are a disciplined, well-coached, dedicated group of men, playing with one philosophy and for one thing: the win. They run set plays for their main weapons: Chan, Hu, and Liu. They rely on a good defensive rebounding and the post game to open up their transition offense and perimeter scoring opportunities. They have a deep bench, with Mika Ohior emerging as a real star off the bench. This means that even when Chan’s not present at a game, their depth wears opponents down at the end of games. More than a few times this season, the Cruisers played a close first half just to run away with it by incorporating their bench in the third and fourth quarters.
Gen X is also disciplined and dedicated- well, at least their starting five plus Donald Chan, that is. The rest of their team rarely, if ever shows up for games and it’s for this reason that fitness is a big issue for this team. They are great with ball rotations, especially Brandon Chock from the post. And they’d better be because they’re completely reliant on it. With Dennis Yang the only player on the squad who can consistently create his own opportunities, the team needs to pass well and find the open man. The trick is that guys like Sung-Mo Cho and Robert Schopen don’t miss those open shots very often. And if they do, Chock turns into a one-man clean up crew. They’re stingy on defense, too, sporting reigning Defensive POS, Paul Ohshima on top of their tough zone. Gen X is scrappy and methodical. They’ll keep running the same play (pass into Chock, wait for the double, pass it out for three) until the clock is at zero, but why change when it works.
Q gained great wisdom from this temple.
We all know that the Cruisers have a coaching staff that has ingrained in the team the finer points of James Naismith’s creation. Hu is one of the most intelligent players in the League, knowing how to draw fouls, pass out of double-teams, help in transition, etc. Chan is the same way and Liu is always patient and smart, although some would say he needs to utilize the shot fake and drive more often. The whole team plays within themselves and rarely forces things. The bench, at times, gets a bit out of sorts, but that’s what timeouts and substitutions are for. Finally, they have the noted basketball scholar, Quincy Tso. Tso is known to have traveled to the hilltops of Springfield, Mass. in order to learn the age old secrets of roundball. It is said that what Tso saw in those hills changed him forever. Of course, he has kept his learnings a secret so far, but the Cruisers will need them before the playoffs are over.
WonderMik Score: 54 (Out of a possible 70)
Gen X is full of basketball scholars. Cho journeyed to the renowned bastion of basketball knowledge, South Korea, in order to learn the age-old mysteries of this sport. Before then, he was raised in the hotbed of basketball culture in British Columbia, Canada, where they call basketball, hockey without the stick and the puck and the skates and the ice, i.e. bockey. Chock spent many hours reading the NBA rulebook during those long hours in the Stanfurd Library. He also went down to the Rodin Sculpture Garden and scrimmaged with the Burghers of Calais while being coached by the inanimate Balzac himself. And Ohshima… well, he went to UCLA. Sat on the knee of old John Wooden himself, they say. Pyramid of Success? That’s old Pauly’s idea, Wooden will tell ya. So yes, they score pretty darn high.
WonderMik Score: 47
Homecrest wins in stats and WonderMik, and tie Gen X in game scouting. So yeah, I like Homecrest to win. Any problems with that?
If you have any problems with anything, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(6) A Ball at (2) Ghee Unit
So everyone now knows that I know nothing. I picked previously hot shooting Derelicte over Ghee last round and I even gave them the scouting report to make it easier on them. Well, relatively speaking, that is. There’s really no easy way to beat Ghee Unit. To be fair, I provided both teams with scouting reports and Ghee did a better job following through with their game plan. Derelicte did almost everything right. But they forgot to stop Vic Bhartiya, Nik Nayak, and Mo Ghumman. Oh, and they forgot how to shoot the ball, too. It may have had something to do with the extended Ghee Unit defense, though. You’ll have to ask Young Yu and Fred Lee, who went from shooting better than 80% from three-point land against Moe’s Tavern to shooting exactly 0% from long distance against Ghee. Is Ghee that good or Moe’s that bad. Wait, don’t answer that.
So now we have A Ball who achieved a historic win over Da Bien. Like Korea’s historic win over Togo (it was our first win on European soil in the World Cup), A Ball went down early, but never gave up, using their organization and stamina to come back and beat Da Bien. That organization and stamina (or fitness as they say in soccer) will be key against the bigger, more athletic Ghee Unit. On paper, it looks difficult for A Ball, but remember this, Ghee Unit is susceptible to periods of frustration and lack of focus. Against a Derelicte team that may have played its worst game of the year, Ghee Unit still managed to turn the ball over 22 times. With ball hawkers, Brent Morita, Danny Han, and Drew Chen, A Ball is capable of frustrating the Ghee Unit attack. However, they will also need the consistent high post offense from Mark Kiang, if there gonna pull off an upset of this magnitude.
Alas, I don’t think they’ll be able to do it. There’s been a sense of inevitability to this whole season that the top two seeds will clash in an epic battle the likes of which the League has never seen, much like there seems to be an inevitability that Brazil will win this World Cup. However, fate is a fickle mistress and, as the Argentineans and Spanish have something to say in the World Cup, I’m sure A Ball will come prepared and make some noise. But, to paraphrase my good friend Willy Shakespeare (in honor of Macbeth being performed in the Park this summer), A Ball will be full of sound and fury, but signify not a win.
UPDATE: I just heard from my sources close to Ghee Unit that they may only have a maximum of five players tonight. That being said, I still like Ghee tonight, but I would definitely not be surprised to see an A Ball victory.
Tri-State InvAsian v. Da Bien
One team was missing their best player, the League’s leading scorer and lost big to its first round opponent. The other had their normal squad and was dramatically beat by a lower seed while its best player displayed his usual panache. So how will they match up now that all the pieces will be together? Will Tri-State still look tentative and flatfooted? Will Da Bien continually miss shots that they normally make? Will Tri-State give less than 100% if they see the glimmer of defeat on the horizon? Will Da Bien concern themselves with the officials more than their opponents?
These are all questions that even my full-proof method (outlined below) cannot answer. You have to show up and see for yourself. Me, well, I think that maybe Da Bien’s time has come. Like I said, the shots, especially the three-pointers, don’t seem to fall at those crucial moments like they used to. They let adverse calls affect their composure. Maybe the biggest thing is that they just don’t have that same energy at this point. Out of the top seeds, Da Bien is the one that seems most in need of a break right now.
No more left!
As for Tri-State, it’s no picnic for them either. There’s too much reliance on one player. There’s not enough resilience when they go down early. There’s not enough ball movement, defensive help, or consistent shooting. And all that good karma that came from their torrid start seems to have dissipated faster than you can say Earl Hickey. But they still have the pieces. All they need to do is put it together. Maybe seeing Da Bien, still great, but vulnerable, will light a fire under this team.
So I’m taking Tri-State over Da Bien. But here’s the rub, teams are begging me to pick against them. Is Da Bien one of them?