|Happy start of a new decade DL Nation! We took a little hiatus and the last few weeks off have been spent sucking in basketball (and food) in the pro and college format (How about that Kobe shot on New Year's Day? Max Zhang at Cal looked like a beast against Stanford with 4 dunks and 3 swats. The Nets still stink. And, of course, Harvard's Jeremy Lin tore it up during the holidays against Georgetown, George Washington and Seattle U.), but now we're back:|
Goodbye 2009, hello 2010!
Goodbye Gen X, hello Queens Elite!
When we last left off, Queens Elite disposed of 0-8 Gen X (now Yaletown is even more embarrassed by carrying the label as the only team to lose to Gen X this season) for the right to fight on against the DoGGs this Thursday in a quarterfinal matchup.
Queens was simply too much for a hapless Gen X team who just couldn’t get Jiang Yu to show up for a second game in a row to give their interior lineup the extra bulk they needed. It was going to be the only way they could get by on Elite.
Instead, Steve Hong continued to make waves – and raise eyebrows of those who don’t believe he should be allowed to play this season (and they have a point) – with a 14 point, 10 rebound double double. He also threw a block party with 3 swats. Mark Lee and Ace Watana ran circles around Gen X’s backcourt for a combined 32 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists.
This week, Queens will need every bit of that and more as they go up against the DoGGs, who look like they have awoken from their early season slumber to become the championship caliber squad that many expected of them.
Did Queens come up with any gimmicks during this past holiday season to deal with Tony Hu? Do they dare put their focus on the real reason the DoGGs go: Stan Yeung? If they make life hard on Stan by denying his entry passes or limiting his breaks, the DoGGs slow down considerably and things even out. Teams often don’t realize this and focus too much on slowing down Tone or covering Quincy Tso or Eddie Wang on the wing.
Elite has the pieces to give the DoGGs a run, but they need a pristine game from everyone. And even then, the DoGGs have so much firepower, it’s no given. It could come down to a last second Dave Cheng or Ken Lam look or something unexpected like that.
Either way, it ought to be fun – and wondrous way to ring in the new year.
Of course, before that game, on Wednesday, the marquee match-up of the week pits Moneyball against SK War Dog in the loser’s bracket. There is nothing loser about either of these teams, however, whoever does come out on the short end of the stick, will have their season end just as this year begins. Not how Money or SK wants 2010 to begin. (Of course, the thought of losing so he can follow his Indianapolis Colts throughout the NFL playoffs unimpeded - cause DL games can get in the way - is alluring to Arif Ansari.)
This battle, as it always is when Andre Liu meets Ray Huang, is going to be fierce. We think it’s going to come down to a matter of personnel.
Here's a secret: Slow down Stan.
Can Money make sure Romeo Baptista comes to another weeknight game? Are John Lee and Vic Lin recovered from whatever mysterious injuries they suffered during the regular season? Will someone sport a playoff beard? Will Liu and Ansari get their frozen cars to start, cause surely the last few weeks, they’ve been doing nothing but sitting still as subzero temperatures take over the East Coast. (Man, East really is Least as I sit here writing this from sunny California where I will soon be taking in the Harvard @ Santa Clara game.)
And how interesting that just one hour prior to this game, Huang, Liu, and Ansari will have been teammates in a AAA playoff game on TSIVOS. They go from being a band of brothers to enemies of the state. Only here in the DL does something like that happen.
It’s just the start of 2010, and already it’s a crazy decade.
Here's to 10 more glorious years...(though the DLNY is only 5, going on 6.)