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Week 4 Preview (Javion's Edition)

Week 3 was far from being anticlimactic as upsets were witnessed, questions are now floating, and stars are rising! In fact, my buddy, Tobey Prime reported a trade fallout between the Pickers, Dragons, and Huskies. We’ll see if that affects team morale and maybe even boost the Dragons for declining and staying loyal..... Let's get into these highly anticipated upcoming Week 4 “Rivalry Week” matchups!

Our first game scheduled in Week 4 is the Gremlins and Lanc Show. Gremlins, who still are looking for their first win will certainly be a tough out trying to spoil Ajani’s return home. Lanc Show, who I’m sure led by Ajani will be fed up with losing close games and you hope that he’ll have a career night against his former team. The Gremlins played overall solid last week up against the Dragons but again as I stated in my preview last week, the Gremlins needed to find more threats other than Nassir and execute crunch time defense. Yet, again he wasn’t enough and late-game defense hurt them again. The formula is simple. It may be time to panic for the Gremlins considering their schedule the remainder of the season. Lanc Show is a much better team defensively than the Dragons so if they don’t adjust, this team might just have to chalk it up. Lanc Show on the other hand, despite losing a tough one last week, they played solid. To me, the Bullies were in control of intensity against the Lanc Show. I believe the E and the effect it has on the intensity, played a role. Instead of containing Kobe, others for the Bullies were involved to make it a triple whammy with Kobe, Topfloor, and Desean. The Bullies having the most momentum swings and carrying the intensity put Lanc Show at a disadvantage which they will have to improve against the Gremlins back on the Sport Court.

The next game scheduled in Week 4 is the Titans and Dragons. Titans, who look to bounce back after an unexpected first loss to the Huskies. Dragons, who look to pull off a great upset to start sailing their ship in the right direction. If they do, this will be one heard around the BBAL world… The Titans played clean basketball as usual in the first half last week, but within the transition to the E in the 2nd half, they just played sloppy and couldn’t get shots that we normally see falling to fall. Now, the Titans do deserve some slack as realistically every team loses, what matters is how they respond when they lose. They should know they didn’t play their best and with tons of leadership on that roster, they should be back in the win column soon. They found open looks, but turnovers definitely should be addressed and giving up second chance points killed them and they have to come down with defensive rebounds in crunch time, otherwise they'll be fine. The Dragons played their best basketball all season as they defeated the Gremlins this past week. In addition, I expect to see a solid jump in production from Kevin Roldan as well after his 20 point performance. Although, their win isn’t saying much, you would hope that this would be warming up the fire in the Dragon’s locker room. I said last week that their focus should be limiting bad shots, which they definitely improved and playing defense without fouling, which they did pretty effectively, only committing 6 team fouls. Elijah Terry returning indeed helped and hopefully they can carry this momentum against the Titans even though they will have to win the three point battle without forcing threes, despite the Titans three ball threats.

Woodpeckers and Tropics are scheduled to face off at 6 o’clock this week. Many might disagree but, I believe this game will be fun to watch despite not being the most anticipated. The Woodpeckers, who are coming off a huge upset against the 8 Balls shutting down their star player Julian Collazo with ease. And the Tropics who took a flat out beating last week look to bounce back in an impressive way by stopping the Woodpeckers in their tracks. The Woodpeckers showed aggressive, fluent offense with Devin Atkinson leading the charge and defensively, they were the best team to shut down Julian all year. Their double teams forced the ball out of his hands and it seemed that the 8 Balls didn't adjust to getting him open looks off the ball. I mean if the Peckers offense is pecking like that along with their creative defense more consistently, this team will be a team to watch from now on… In my opinion, the Tropics don’t have a solidified #1 option like the 8 Balls, so their keys to victory should be finding who they rely on mostly and preventing Devin from a mismatch early. As for the Tropics, it’s hard to come back from a loss like last week especially when it comes from a team no one expected to perform so dominantly. But, the Tropics definitely have potential, besides they've proven it winning a game with just 5 guys in week 2. Assuming Tyrell will play the entire game, they should run the offense through him. The CherryPickers having a barrage of threes connecting isn’t really the Tropics fault as it just wasn’t their night. By no means am I giving up on the Tropics, but they will need to make the perimeter a defensive priority and plain and simple, hit their shots.

The fan favorite of the night is next… 8 Balls and Bullies will face off as MJM brothers meet on opposite sides. The 8 Balls, who are coming off a tough loss against the Woodpeckers in a game where the momentum was mainly favored towards the Peckers. 8 Balls guard, Julian Collazo suffered an injury last week which according to Alex Cruz was just “cramps” so you hope he’ll be alright. The 8 Balls recipe with knowing how good the Bullies defense is, they need to find ways to get Julian open off the ball especially if Jase is quarterbacking. Their defense as well. They were letting Devin Atkinson eat in the paint all night last week, so knowing Kobe, Topfloor, and more can slash, they need to defend that while rotating effectively to not give up easy threes. Obviously many hope to see Jase back on the floor as I’ve heard rumors that reigning Bullies MVP Marquel Wansley will be making his return, also on the court against his brother, Jason Kuntzelman. Marquel will be another slashing and perimeter issue for the 8 Balls so this is the real test for the 8 Balls if they can pull this upset off. As for the Bullies, they played great offensively and it definitely wasn’t a one-man show with Kobe at the helm like we are used to seeing. Topfloor showed his potential, as I’ve already known he’s possessed by watching MJM Hoops. Desean having himself a solid game and getting buckets to fall. And as usual Kobe leading the charge and still being their leading scorer through 3 weeks. Defensively, they are very aggressive and have a defense that can suffocate you. I noticed these traits especially from Erik Goldbach early on. They are definitely the closest team to flawless in the league so, I don’t doubt that now with Marquel, the league is in trouble.

The last one of the night will be another dogfight between the Huskies and the CherryPickers. The Huskies, who are coming off a huge upset win over the Titans with phenomenal 2nd half defense and a wakeup call from former MVP candidate, Timmy Edwards. The Pickers on the other hand, coming off a blowout victory against the Tropics, hopefully this is just the spark they needed and maybe those cherries are beginning to become ripe… The Huskies did a great job countering the Titans fast paced offense and as opposed to last week. They stayed calm and to their gameplan. I believe that the E iced the Titans but, you gotta give credit where it’s due especially with that Husky defense and offensive contribution this past week. The Huskies keys to victory have to be defending the perimeter as the Pickers were feeling it last week, good shot selection as the Pickers were harassing the Tropics and although they didn’t create many turnovers, they forced plenty of bad shots. Lastly, in response to the Pickers career night last week, if the Pickers do pull off something of that capability once again, the Huskies will need to keep up, which they have more than enough talent to do so with Timmy, Eli Washington, and plenty more dawgs. However, the CherryPickers on the other hand will need to keep their foot on the gas. KJ will have to prove his talent with more consistent play like last week, John-John, you hope will start feeling more confident again, Joe Chupick needs to continue to feast on the glass and contain Timmy. It’s only a matter of time before Matt “Belly” Mccleary wakes up…

This wraps up my teaser of Week 4 of the BBAL Regular Season! Be there Sunday! Grab some refreshing lemonade courtesy of Alex Cruz and some rich and savory empanadas courtesy of Yolanda’s Empanadillas!

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