The Final Countdown…

By Steven Petterson

Gear up ladies and gentlemen. The BasketBrawlers league is into it’s final week of the regular season and it is shaping up to be one of the tightest finishes in league history. With one matchup to go, our eight playoff teams are still not decided, and the first round matchups are anybody’s guess.

6 more duels this week. 6 league-altering results await. Let’s breakdown each match-up and the implications that are at stake as we head into the final Monday of Basketbrawlers 19-20.

Madness awaits..

The Current Picture

1.       Mr. KatmanDO 93-55-4

2.       TJ5 91-59-2

3.       White Chocolate 85-64-3

4.       Charlotte Beedrills 81-67-4

5.       Hooked on Sonics 80-69-3

6.       Brick Squad 80-70-2

7.       The Game Genies 72-75-5

8.       Hindu Clan 72-79-1

9.       Chance The Raptor 71-81-0

Fort Wayne Mad Durants, Rock Harden, and Garbage Scoopers have all been ELIMINATED, but all have potential to play spoiler in this final week. The standings today are tight. Mr. KatmanDO and TJ5 will battle till the final Sunday for regular season supremacy, White Chocolate is feeling comfortable in 3rd but with a poor showing (not that it will happen.. *cough*Trae Young*cough*) and some un-fortuitous results, he could find himself all the way down in 6th. Meanwhile, at the heavenly gates to the playoffs, only two shall pass. Hindu Clan, The Game Genies, and Chance the Raptor battle for survival, with only two games separating the three.

On to the matchups, ranked from least-at-stake, to most-at-stake:

Mr. KatmanDO vs Garbage Scoopers

The Breakdown:

Mr. KatmanDO has lead the league since Week 2 of the season, but a tumultuous tumble over the last four weeks has seen him lose four straight, after having gone 13-2 in the first 15 match-ups. Now, he is at risk of losing the regular season title in the final moments, and Garbage Scoopers is Spoiler Potential Numero Uno. Can Garbage Scoopers pull out the 16 vs 1 upset and rob Mr. KatmanDo of his place atop the league?

What’s at stake?:

Mr. KatmanDO has a 4 game lead on TJ5, meaning a tie 4-4 in this matchup secure him the title. If Garbage Scoopers wins, he gets a positive end to his season and sets up TJ5 for the possible victory spike.

What to watch for?:

Garbage Scoopers traded for Anthony Davis a week ahead of the shitstorm. With NOP playing 4 games with no back-to-backs, can Davis salvage some final value for the Scoop? Already tagged with a DTD due to ‘illness’ it’s looking unlikely. Meanwhile, Mr. KatmanDO is sweating buckets waiting for the return of Lord Covington.. will he make a timely return to help the Wolves and KatmanDO’s playoff pushes?

The Game Genies vs Rock Harden

The Breakdown:

The Game Genies have come roaring into the playoff picture behind a strategy of points, 3’s, free throw percentage and screw everything else. It’s working and his team is on a tear. He matchups up with Spoiler Potential Numero Dos in Rock Harden. Rock Harden has not won a matchup since November 19th-25th, back when Thibodeau was a coach and Butler had just left the Wolves, so to say he is due is an understatement. Can he get a win to end the season on a positive note, and at the same time stop The Game Genies run to the playoffs in it’s tracks?

What’s at stake?:

The Game Genies sit in 7th place now. He can’t catch 6th place but can fall to 9th. He owns the tiebreaker with Hindu Clan, and is tied in the season series with Chance the Raptor. If he wins 6 games, he is guaranteed 7th position, if he wins 5 games he is guaranteed to be in the playoffs. 4 or less and he is in trouble – but Hindu Clan and Chance the Raptor would still both need to put on dazzling performances to kick him to the curb.

What to watch for?:

It is generally not good advice to have 3 players from one team on your squad. 3 players from the Cleveland Cavaliers? Only with Game Genies build.. unfortunately for him the Cavs only play twice this week meaning The Game Genies will be supremely lacking for games played in a pivotal matchup. Will his allegiance to Cedi and the Boys be his downfall, and knock him out of the playoffs?

Hindu Clan vs Fort Wayne Mad Durants

The Breakdown:

Hindu Clan has fallen from grace. Once thought to be a top contender this season, Hindu Clan was hit by the injury bug and never quite recovered. A fall from 3rd to 8th had an exclamation mark put on it by a 2-6 loss last week to Chance the Raptor – the very team that could complete the final death swing and replace Hindu Clan in the final playoff spot. In the last 10 matchups Hindu Clan has gone 1-8-2, and yet still holds onto the 8th and final spot. Enter Spoiler Numero Tres. Fort Wayne Mad Durants has battled and clawed to the brink of playoff potential, but has come up short after a marvelous re-creation of their team in the second half of the season. A team that didn’t win it’s 1st game until the Christmas week matchup, but has gone 5-3 since, they are no easy task despite their position in the poll. Hindu Clan will need a healthy, strong team to keep their playoff hopes alive.

What’s at stake?:

It’s a win or die situation for Hindu Clan. They do not have the tiebreaker with Chance the Raptor and currently have a 1.5 game lead on them in the standings. If Hindu Clan pull out a 7-1 victory they are safe no matter what Chance the Raptor does. If not, they can only afford to win one less game this week than Chance the Raptor to remain in the playoffs.

What to watch for?:

Both teams sport boom or bust Grizzlies players that will play a significant role in Hindu Clan either getting to the promised land or being denied entry. On Fort Wayne’s side the emergence of Joakim Noah, former stud and Rastafarian enthusiast, has been something to behold, while Hindu Clan’s patience with JV has no doubt paid off. Which one of them will bring their A game this week?

Hooked on Sonics vs Chance the Raptor

The Breakdown:

Chance the Raptor would love to forget about the middle of this season. He started the year on a roll going 3-0-2 in his first 5 matchups, and then plummeted over the following 10 weeks, going winless with a record or 0-6-4. Since then he has turned things around with four straight wins and finds himself in a position to steal the last playoff spot with seconds remaining on the clock. In his path? A powerhouse and another team hungry to win. Hooked on Sonics is the model of consistency, never losing more than three times in a row, and even that only happened once. He’s on a bit of a winning streak himself and only half a game separates himself from falling back down to 6th. With a big win to slam the door shut on Chance, there is a path to propel himself up the ranks.

What’s at stake?:

Chance the Raptor is 1.5 games behind Hindu Clan, and 6 games behind The Game Genies, meaning even if he has a perfect week, he is still at risk of losing playoffs. Chance the Raptor has tiebreaker with Hindu Clan so he needs to stay one win and one tie ahead of him to get into the playoffs. Catching The Game Genies would take a miracle. For Hooked on Sonics, he is only half a game ahead of Brick Squad for 6th place. He and Brick Squad share the tiebreaker, meaning we will need to go deep into the rule book for final playoff position if they end with the same record. He is 1.5 games behind Charlotte Beedrills for 4th, and does not have the tiebreaker there, meaning he needs to win 2 more games than the Beedrills to claim 4th. In the wacky scenario that Hooked on Sonics go 8-0 this week AND Charlotte Beedrills beat White Chocolate 6-2, Hooked on Sonics would claim the 3rd seed.

What to watch for?:

DeAndre Jordan’s health could be the deciding factor in this matchup. Mitchell Robinson has propelled Hooked on Sonics in recent times, but Chance the Raptor has his minutes-thief Deandre waiting to ruin the Robinson dream. If Deandre Jordan goes from questionable to healthy for Monday’s game, that could put a serious damper on Hooked on Sonics week.

Brick Squad vs The Jackson Five

The Breakdown:

An absolute powerhouse matchup. Arguably the two strongest teams going right now (although White Chocolate may have something to say about that) meet to end the season. After Brick Squad committed a federal crime to bring in Harden and The Don Mitchell, he has melted everyone in his path, going 5-0-1 over his last 6. His current seeding at 6th does not tell the whole story. TJ5 had a rough first few weeks, but hasn’t looked back since. In his last 15 he is 10-3-2. These teams are going to slug it out for bragging rights and more importantly the H2H tiebreaker should they see each other in the playoffs. Currently TJ5 owns it with a massive early season victory over Brick Squad 7-1, so will need to ensure his team at least grabs two categories in the event he loses.

What’s at stake?:

The Jackson 5 can win the regular season crown with a strong win over Brick Squad and a poor showing from Mr. KatmanDO. TJ5 has to win more than 4 cats above the amount KatmanDO gets, and the crown is his. Brick Squad is jockeying for playoff position and can move up to 4th, 5th, or stay where he is now at 6th. Winning one more category than Hooked on Sonics will get him 5th. He doesn’t own the tiebreaker with Charlotte Beedrills meaning he would need to win 4 more categories than Beedrills wins in his matchup to be able to claim 4th.

What to watch for?:

The entire matchup. In projections for the weekly matchup, each category – all eight – project to be too close to call. Not only are these teams very strong, they also have very similar builds, meaning an injury or rest day to a key player on either squad could spell the end early on.

White Chocolate vs Charlotte Beedrills

The Breakdown:

White Chocolate and Charlotte Beedrills have both been mainstays in the playoff picture throughout the season, so it is natural that they meet in the final week of the regular season to duel for 3rd place. White Chocolate is powered by some amazing draft picks and early season pickups. Trae Young, Pascal Siakam, and Lauri Markkanen are all far out-playing what people thought they would be and it has propelled White Chocolate to their current 3 seed. Charlotte Beedrillls is powered by guards. Curry, Holiday, and a healthy CP3 lead are the face of a vicious 3-headed monster. Both teams are ready for the playoffs, and there is a lot at stake..

What’s at stake?:

the 3rd seed, and a crucial tiebreaker. Currently Charlotte Beedrills own the tiebreaker over White Chocolate with an earlier 5-3 victory. White Chocolate is ahead in the standings by 4 games. If Charlotte Beedrills can pull out a 6-2 win, they claim the 3rd seed. If White Chocolate can win 5-3 or more, they regain or eliminate the H2H tiebreaker. A lot riding on this matchup

What to watch for?:

Health. White Chocolate is desperately waiting on word about Joel Embiid’s return, while Charlotte Beedrills are dealing with nagging injuries for three of his players at an in-opportune time. Drgaic, Faried, and Whiteside have all missed games this past week. Whoever can get back to full health quickest may take the riches here.

Predictions and Conclusion….

6 more games, with a bunch at stake. Lots of moving. Lots of shaking. Let’s get it on, and let’s get to those playoffs. My predictions below, have at me with your disagreements:

Mr. KatmanDO Win over Garbage Scoopers, 6-2

The Game Genies Win over Rock Harden, 6-2

Hindu Clan Tie with Fort Wayne Mad Durants, 4-4

Hooked on Sonics Win over Chance the Raptor, 5-3

Brick Squad Win over TJ5, 6-2

Charlotte Beedrills Win over White Chocolate 5-3

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